“The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.” Psalm 28:7
“Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10
Over the years I’ve learned there’s a difference between happiness and joy. Happiness is dependent on our outer circumstances—what goes on around us. Most times it’s temporary, at best, so we have to wait for the next “happy” moment to come along. But what about those in between times when we’re trudging along in life? When there’s no happiness to be found, how do we maneuver the mundane, everyday moments? Is there a reserve when we feel as though we’re just trying to keep our heads above water? When our energy to keep treading is depleted? Where do we find lasting happiness? We don’t. But we can experience JOY that outmatches happiness in an inexplainable way. True JOY has to be experienced.
How comforting it is to know that we can experience JOY through every situation—through every pain or sorrow, every doctor visit that brings bad news, and through our common, every day moments in life.
Let us always remember that our ability to have JOY in our heart has come with a great price. As I think about how Jesus died for us, I’m humbled to know that through His sacrifice, He paved the way so that we might have eternal life. Nothing we could ever do would earn us that right, for we are very undeserving. Jesus’ death on the cross was God’s ultimate gift to mankind! But to have that gift, we must invite Him to be Lord of our life. What a wondrous exchange that is!
Today, I am eternally thankful that my Heavenly Father loves me that much and that He never gave up on me, nor will He ever. My friends, rest assured that God won’t give up on you, either. Why? Because He’s a forgiving Father, and He loves His creation (that’s you and me) more than we could ever comprehend. He wants His best for all of us. (Jeremiah 29:11). Friends, that’s amazing love, and the perfect recipe for a JOY-filled, peaceful heart.