OK, who remembers that song from Sunday school … “I’ve got the joy down in my heart, where?”
Some of those oldies were quite annoying, but the value found in them sticks with me even today. You feel me?
In fact, I was thinking about that song the other day and the “WHERE?” really stood out to me. Where is the joy God? Where is it right now in this difficult season? I asked. It’s right here, was His reply. It has never left. I have never moved, was His sweet heart-whisper.
When I was little, if my mom would start to get upset about something, my dad would stop her by saying, “Don’t lose your joy. Keep your joy.” At the time, the imagery my head came up with was a balloon that was about to float away so, my mom had to grab it back before it was out of reach. I also imagined her clutching that joy balloon in her arms so that it wouldn’t try to fly away again.
As silly as that sounds, it’s true isn’t it? We have that joy balloon and slowly but surely let it slip away.
In fact, it happened to me the other day. I was completely exhausted. I had locked myself out of my apartment and arrived late to work because of it. I was super grumpy and annoyed at my kids at school all day. I was behind on emails, sketches and custom orders for my art business. I didn’t make my deadline for one of the magazines I write for. I also accidentally had gluten at some point prior (I am super-sensitive to it), and my body was hurting for sure. It was just one of those can-we-skip-it-altogether days, but then I remembered, “Keep your joy.”
I had chosen to let my feelings dictate my mood, my actions and my words all day long instead of choosing to keep my joy.
In Christ, we as believers are “filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy” (1 Peter 1:8). In John 15:11, Jesus says, “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” Jesus actually refers to his own joy as being in us. It’s not just a fleeting moment of joy but an indwelling of His own joy. We actually get to rejoice with the very joy of Jesus. A lasting, genuine, overflowing joy.
Maybe you are having a hard time finding the joy right now. Where is the joy in my breakup? Where is the joy in my sickness? Where is the joy in my shame? Where is the joy in my stress? Where is the joy in my busyness? Where is the joy in my sorrow? Where is the joy in my routine?
I’m here to remind you that it has never left. That balloon may have drifted a bit but it’s still within reach. Choose to grab it back. Clutch it tightly and confess God’s truths over your life. Speak joy into existence even if you don’t feel like it. Allow the joy of the Lord to be your strength. Remember, it’s not your joy, it’s His and because He never leaves, His joy doesn’t either.
But the fountain of Christian joy flows out from the throne of God, pure, refreshing and sweet everlastingly. –A.W. Tozer
I’m speaking joy over you right now.
Your situation may be ugly. Your pain may be intense. Your battle may be fierce. Your rejection may be recent. Your failure may be evident.
But those things cannot dictate your joy unless you let them do so. There is an inexpressible and glorious joy inside of you as a child of God. The joy of the Lord is your strength. May the joy that doesn’t even make sense be your continuous anthem of your every day. May that joy rise up within you to spill out to those around you. May you rejoice no matter what stands in your way. And may you allow Jesus to be your everything.
You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. –Psalm 16:11