Column Post by Glenda Harbinson
I recently learned something that has made a marked change in my life. I can’t help but believe there are many besides me who are being given incorrect impressions in this area.
It’s about joy. Not happiness. We seem to understand that happiness is based on circumstances, but we misunderstand joy. What? You don’t have the JOY of the Lord? Well, look up these verses, and get your JOY back!
I don’t know about you, but for years a negative pattern led me to believe that I was pretty good at being a failure. I mean, I couldn’t just rejoice ALL THE TIME.
Sometimes I was sad. Sometimes I cried. Worse, sometimes I was sad and I couldn’t say why. In those times I would drive myself, and often someone else, quite crazy trying to get to the bottom of why I had those feelings. After all, I was a believer, I had Jesus—where was the JOY? Wasn’t I supposed to be rejoicing at all times?
One week I went through a deeply painful time when I felt absolutely no joy. The ache in my heart overshadowed everything. A difficult situation had left me with no idea how it was going to play out, how I should respond to the other person involved. All I knew was what God wanted from me.
God used that week to teach me much about joy. He showed me that even while my heart was breaking and the tears came often, while the hurt seemed to be ruling my life, it wasn’t actually ruling me. I was no longer allowing that pain to control my actions. What I was feeling was just that: feelings.
I continued to obey God in all areas of my life and to see His guidance even when my emotions wanted to lash out and respond to the pain like we humans tend to do. I was obeying, walking in truth, and in that I was just exactly where God wanted me to be. Did I feel joy? Not a bit!
One night soon after this situation had begun to resolve, I was feeling sad and a little lonely. Tearful, I curled up in Jesus’ arms through prayer. As I sat there talking to Him I realized that just like a human daddy, when my heavenly Father sees my obedience it makes His heart happy. He created me and He knows I am not going to be joyful every minute of every day.
Joy IS important. We do need to have the joy of the Lord! We can also accept that sometimes we’re just going to be sad and so long as we are walking in obedience during our painful times, we can rest easy. He’s not mad or disappointed. He wants our open, honest hearts.
So long as we continue on a path of obedience, we will find joy.
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P.S. We’d love to know your thoughts, so please be sure to comment below. Each of our commenters will be entered in a drawing for our current FREE book giveaway, Mothers & Daughters: Mending a Strained Relationship by author Teena Stewart.
Glenda is a homeschooling mom of four in New Brunswick, Canada. She also fosters one teen and provides respite care and tutoring for another. She and her paramedic husband Mark have been married for 24 years. Glenda’s writings often reflect her personal experience parenting and teaching children with developmental and learning differences, as well as a particular empathy for moms with chronic illness. She blogs at http://pwsmommy.homeschooljournal.net/ and can be reached by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
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One thought on “The joy of the Lord is my strength—and yours”
I loved your piece on “Joy”. I used to suffer bad bouts of depression. One day, I was doing the washing in a fit of misery when the Lord asked quite clearly,”What would you be doing if you weren’t so miserable?” (Don’t you love these questions you don’t want to answer, like the Lord asked His detractors and still asks today!)
“Singing, I guess,” I answered reluctantly, knowing what was coming next.
“Well,” He said with a smile in His voice, “Sing!”
So I did. The depression lifted immediately, and I realised for the first time in my life that I didn’t have to accept alternting periods of highs and deadly lows. I’m glad I work for such a wise Boss!