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“ The joy of the Lord is my strength.” –Nehemiah 8:10 “And my soul shall be joyful in the Lord: it shall rejoice in His salvation.” – Psalm 35:9

 

What does it look like to find joy in everything, even when the world says otherwise or you feel joy is the furthest thing from you? Throughout life, we all experience good times and bad times. A question I have had to ask myself quite often during bad times is how can I experience joy when unfortunate situations in life continue to arise?

 

Let me first differentiate between joy and happiness. I like to think of happiness as being a temporary and satisfying feeling that can last for as long as it wants, but will eventually fade away. Joy, on the other hand is a gift given to God’s children (you and me!) It never fades away. It is a gift from God that we can choose to accept and embrace!

 

Recently, I have pondered a lot about what it means to have the joy of the Lord be my strength. I have often been considered a happy go lucky kind of gal, but what happens when joy seems unattainable or just out of plain sight? I recently had to deal with some curveballs that were thrown at me and joy seemed like the last thing possible to experience. I felt frustrated and uneasy with all that was happening, that I forgot to look at what Jesus says about joy.

 

Hebrews 12:2 “looking to Jesus, the perfecter of our faith, who with joy set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the Father.”  Jesus endured an indescribable amount of pain in order that we may be no longer be put to shame and a slave to sin, and he did it joyfully. He knew what He was getting himself into, yet chose to go about it, joyfully.

 

As Sons and Daughters of the Lord, we get to experience all joy because of the salvation offered to us! It is not forced upon us, yet He is gentle and patient, waiting for our response to be “YES.” When we have our hearts open to the joy of the Lord, others are able to experience this joy through us. The Holy Spirit works in miraculous ways and joy is a gift that can soften heavy hearts when we embrace it, ourselves.

 

I can confidently say that I have been released of a heavy heart and reminded of the joy that is set before me. Since yesterday was Easter, my heart has been revealed to the power behind what Jesus chose to do for me, for all of us! Even though life circumstances are not always the easiest to deal with, the sufferings do not change what Jesus did and who Jesus is.

 

How do you need to be reminded of the Lord’s joy in your life?