Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. James 1:2-3.
I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart, Where? Down in my heart! Where? Down in my heart! I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart, down in my heart to stay! Do you remember that song from Children’s Church? As an adult, I look at those words and wonder do I really have the joy in my heart? Way down deep…to stay? The real kind of joy. The kind that you had when you were a child singing the lyrics to a song? What a question! I looked up the definition of JOY: the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires: Delight. To possess true joy our only desire has to be for Him. Our delight should be for Him alone.
So how do you get this? Is it just an emotion or a choice? It’s both. I can feel joy when I am happy and things are going my way, but what about when my world goes crazy and things are turned upside down? Am I still joyful? Do I still delight in Him?
Jesus tells us a story in John 16 about storms and why we have them. In this parable, God is the owner of a vineyard and we are the vines. He owns them, he loves them, and he cares for them. He removes every branch that doesn’t bear fruit, so there will be more room for the branches that do bear fruit. He even prunes the branch that does bear fruit because it’s the only chance that branch will have to bear more fruit. Jesus teaches us about several spiritual truths in that parable that we can apply to every “storm” that comes our way. He points out that we have an opportunity to glorify God. Storms are our chance to show the difference that God’s presence makes in our lives. In other words, it’s our chance to let his glory shine through our problems.
Jesus lets us know that those who use their faith to navigate their way through storms are not just believers, they are His friends. “No longer do I call you servants…but I have called you friends.” John 15:15.
Indeed, he is a friend! I have had my share of “storms” recently. I have shared my story of “April’s Fury”. I may not have been happy about the circumstances in which we found ourselves in then. But I now understand what it means to have the “joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart”. There is a difference between happiness and joy. I know because I’ve seen the other side.
The Joy of the Lord is my strength!
Love to all,