OK...back to the topic I started a few posts ago...Joy. Romans 12:12 says, "Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer." Sounds like one of those "command" sentences I remember learning about in elementary English class. And remember the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, etc.? Joy is second only to love. Joy comes easy when things are going well for us...but what about when we are going through a time of suffering or heartbreak? And what exactly is joy? Does that mean we are happy all the time?
How many of you sang this song in Sunday School growing up: "I've got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart! WHERE? Down in my heart! WHERE? Down in my heart...". You remember it, don't you? I remember we always yelled "WHERE?" as loud as we could. That song had several verses: "I've got the love of Jesus, love of Jesus, down in my heart", "I've got the wonderful love of my blessed Redeemer way down in the depths of my heart", and even "And if the Devil doesn't like it, he can sit on a tack!" Maybe we only sang that last one in my Sunday School, I don't know. Anyway, that song had a bridge...a part that we sang in between those verses...that went like this: "And I'm so happy, so very happy, I've got the love of Jesus in my heart. And I'm so happy, so very happy, I've got the love of Jesus in my heart."
You know, right now, I could sing the "I've got the joy, joy, joy, joy" part with sincerity. But, that bridge, the "I'm so happy" part...well, to be honest, I don't always feel happy. As a matter of fact, I'm often very, very sad. My heart has been broken. There are times that I miss my daughter so much I find it hard to sit upright. But even in those moments, there is a deep down joy. In 2 Corinthians 6:10, Paul says, "Our hearts ache, but we always have joy." It could not be better said. This kind of joy, the kind that doesn't depend on circumstances, can only come from God. We can't manufacture it...we can't just decide we're going to be joyful. But, we can rejoice in the Lord at all times, in any circumstance, because He is who He says He is.
Hebrews 12:2 says, "Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." As we approach this Easter season, I am so grateful that He endured that cross for me, for Brad, for Bethany, for Hannah, and for you...and that we can share in that joy!