Can't Steal My Joy

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Years ago, when the children of a dear friend of mine were very small, they would say a phrase to each other that has stuck with me throughout the years.  When one of the children was upset with the other, he would say they were "stealing his joy".  I would smile as it was a sweet way to express their annoyance with each other.  But, as I have thought about it I have wondered how often it is that our joy is actually "stolen".  I don't mean our "happiness", but instead, joy - joy in the Lord.   You see, true joy is a gift from God and can only fade when we take our eyes off of Him.  That kind of joy can't be taken from us unless we allow it to be.  Happiness is dependent upon our circumstances, but joy happens in spite of them.

It was during an extremely challenging and painful time in my life that I first learned this truth.  I found that as I stopped focusing on the difficulty and turned my attention to what the Lord was trying to teach me through the situation, joy entered my life.  As I began to trust God and believe that He had a plan for me that was good, the tiny glimmer of light grew. And as it grew, so did my strength.  God then enabled me to travel through that difficult season in my life and feel the joy that only knowing Him brings.  "The joy of the Lord is your strength" (Nehemiah 8:10).

When I began to focus on the Lord and His activity in and around my life I started to see things from a different view.  I became hungry for His Word and I avidly read and studied its pages.  I prayed and poured out my heart to Him...not just once or twice, but constantly throughout the day.  When I awoke during the night and couldn't sleep, I asked Him what He wanted to tell me in that moment, realizing it was He who had opened my eyes.  The more I came before Him, the more I wanted to be with Him...and the relationship grew bringing a surprising joy that I had never experienced before. In the midst of my sorrow, when I had lost so much, God's loving embrace taught me to find the joy in Him.  "But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them sing joyful praises forever. Spread your protection over them, that all who love your name may be filled with joy" (Psalm 5:11).

And as it is promised in the 23rd Psalm, God brought me through the valley.  Now I cannot even imagine a day without Him.  Stresses, difficulties and yes, some unhappy times may come and go in my life, but I know that through it all, He will be there to strengthen me.  Nothing will take my joy from me for the Lord is my Joy, my Strength and my Redeemer forever.  Amen!

"Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.  For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.  So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing" James 1:2-4)

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3 comments

  1. Joy is an indescribable experience, but easier said that done. I can relate to this because I have been so focused on accomplishing one thing in the past few months and it hasn't been accomplished. This week, my roommate has spoken so much wisdom to me that has enabled me to see the situation from a different and much bigger perspective.

    "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the Lord. "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." Isaiah 55:8

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  2. I like the phrase "you are stealing my joy" - I need to remember that when I have some difficulties at work :)
    It is so true though that there are unhappy times, but knowing how He has brought me through some very hard times in my life - that is pure joy.
    Thank you again for such an encouraging post.

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  3. Such an inspiring post, thank you.

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