Joy is the shining splendor in the heart and soul. The result of a touch of eternity in our lives -- a glimpse of truth, an answer to prayer, a fulfillment of a promise, an enlightenment of a perplexing time, an insight about God that opens new vistas of wonder for our souls. At this moment all things seem possible because we believe. We feel like conquerors, overcomers, possessors of heavenly strength and valor. We taste joy and wish it would last forever.
But for most of us joy lasts for only a moment; it vanishes as quickly as it came. We sing, "I've got the joy, joy, joy, joy, down in my heart". But in truth it is here at the seat of our emotions that the obstacle to continual joy dwells. This obstacle has three names: fear, doubt, and impatience. Only when God intercedes in our lives in a dramatic way are these enemies momentarily dispelled and we taste joy.
The secret of continual joy is to see God's hand on our lives in difficult times -- in everything He allows to come our way.
"Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance and let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect, lacking in nothing."
James 1: 2-4
Joy is to be the Christian's escort during tribulation -- pain, suffering, persecution, poverty, desertion, testing, trials, etc. and it is for such times in the life of the believer that joy exists. It was because of joy that Jesus endured the cross.
"Jesus, who for the joy set before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."
Hebrews 12: 2
What can we do right now if joy is elusive and momentary in our lives?
"Who is among you who fears the Lord, who obeys the voice of His servant, yet who walks in darkness and deep trouble and has no shining splendor? Let him rely on, trust and be confident in the name of the Lord, and let him lean upon and be supported by his God."
Isaiah 50: 10
Is it not possible for anyone to have joy when God's hand is obviously upon him for good? But to have joy when darkness surrounds him is the mark of a mature Christian. Listen to the words of Habakkuk 3: 17-19:
"Though the fig tree should not blossom,
And there be no fruit on the vines,
Though the yield of the olive should fail,
And the fields produce no food,
Though the flocks should be cut off from the fold
And there be no cattle in the stalls, Yet I will exult the Lord,
I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.
The Lord God is my strength,
And He has made my feet like hinds feet,
And makes me walk on high places."
Today, believe in God when simply believing is the most difficult thing of all to do. When trials come, love God and rejoice in Him. For love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things. God loves you so much that He gave His Son; now is your opportunity to love Him back. Anchor your soul in eternity, draw your hope and security from what God is and what God says and the Holy Spirit will sow joy in your heart and soul. The rejoicing will encourage you to finish the race set before you and be true to the end whatever comes.