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The Meaning of JOY

Imagine this for just a moment.

You just had the most wonderful vacation.  On the drive home, you find out three things:  1) Your mechanic has totaled your car; 2) Your credit card has been compromised, and 3) your dog has injured himself.

How do you feel?

Well, happy would not be the correct adjective to describe how you would feel after this series of events.  But I am going to share something with you.

Despite all of these circumstances, I still had joy.

Yes, these things happened to me just a few short weeks ago.  But I was quickly reminded that joy is not dependent on my circumstances.  And neither is your joy.  Difficult times are a fact of life.  Our focus needs to be living and walking in God’s presence daily, so we can experience His joy even when life doesn’t cooperate.

In Acts 16, the Apostle Paul and Silas were severely beaten and thrown into prison.  Since they were an escape risk, they were placed in the bowels of the dungeon with shackles on their feet.  Open sores.  Bleeding.  Hurting.  Yet that night, both were praying and singing hymns to worship God.  Can you imagine having that kind of joy despite your circumstances?

It is hard to imagine.  But if they can, I can.  And so can you.

Having success in the world’s eyes does not bring joy.  It may bring temporary happiness.  But the adage is true:  happiness is fleeting; joy is forever.  We have all heard of famous actors, musicians and CEO’s who seem to have it all, yet take their own lives.  Despite fame and fortune, money, success and power was simply not enough.

I want to leave you with this verse:

“Though the fig tree does not bud, and there are no grapes on the vine; though the olive crop fails, and the fields produce no food; though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls – still, I will rejoice in the Lord.  I will be joyful in God my Savior.  The sovereign Lord is my strength.  He makes my feet like the feet of a deer.  He enables me to tread on the heights.” (Habakkuk 3:17-19)

No matter how difficult your days have been, joy is yours for the taking in Jesus Christ!