“What joy, what joy for those whose hope is in the name of the Lord. What peace, what peace for those whose confidence is Him alone.”
How true is that? For the last ten years of my life those words have comforted me in times of trouble. Think of the things in your life that bring you joy. For me that’s easy: my husband, our beautiful baby girl, family and friends, an amazing support system…I could go on and on. I’m sure you have your own list of things that bring a smile to your face as you think of them. But what about when those things are taken away from us? When the worldly things start to disappear? Do you still feel joy?
For me, the number one thing that brings me joy in my life is my relationship with Jesus Christ. I know that because of Him I have eternal life in heaven where I will be free from suffering, from pain, from temptation, from heartbreak, from sin.
In my own life, two things tend to creep up and thieve my joy: comparison and anxiety. I want to be the best, I want to be successful. I used to struggle with failure. When I failed at something I would completely shut down and head to the corner in the fetal position (not really, but you get the idea). My own failures made me feel like I was worthless. This used to be something that stripped my joy away regularly.
Other things that can suck our joy away are those unanswered questions: life seems unfair, or our worst nightmare becomes our reality. We find ourselves dealing with the loss of a loved one, a miscarriage, unemployment, addiction, infidelity and more. What do you do? How can you possibly recover from the joylessness that takes over your heart when those things happen to you? It’s not always going to be an easy overnight fix that happens at the flick of a switch. As Christians, we have a God who is unchanging. In a world that is changing every two seconds, that is something I cling to again and again.
So where do I start when I feel like I have lost my joy? I start by taking things back to the basics. I read my Bible and I spend time seeking God’s Word in prayer. I reflect on passages like Psalm 121 that tell me that my help comes from the Lord who made Heaven and Earth, that the Lord is my keeper and that He will keep me from all evil. Verses like these keep me grounded. I read about men like Job who had their faith tested time and time again. Job lost everything and he was still able to trust in the Lord.
Rediscovering joy doesn’t always mean we will be smiling from ear to ear, but it does mean that we are able to rejoice in the promises God has given us. If we believe in Him and accept Him as our Saviour then we can forever hold onto the eternal joy He has promised us. That promise alone is enough to lift up my heart even in the stormiest of storms.