Joy in the Lord
Joy is defined as, "the emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying; keen pleasure; elation." It is listed second only to love in the fruits of the Spirit in Gal.5:22. In regards to the birth of the Christ child and the resurrection of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the word joy is used many times over. Where can we find it or better yet, Who can we find it in?
A letter came to the head of Wycliffe Bible Translators in 1990, from a couple with 3 kids under 5, in a Muslim nation. After 3 years of working with a people group of over 100,000 people who had no knowledge of Christ, "In a moment of honesty she confessed she felt guilty because she was suffering of stress. Stress! She and her young husband came there from mid-USA. Now they live in a place where the temp is above 100 degrees most of the year. The children are covered with bites, a war is going on close by, their helpers are in danger for being their friends, many in the villages are suffering from hunger and disease, they can't even let their supporters know what they are doing so that they can pray for them since they are in a "critical" area - and she feels guilty because she is under stress." Despite all this Bernie May said, "yet this young couple are laughing and joking and filled with the joy of the Lord."
Oh, the promises in the word of God, how could joy not ooze from our pores? Isa.35:10, "And the ransomed of the Lord will return and come with joyful shouting to Zion, with everlasting joy upon their heads. They will find gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing will flee away." All the redeemed, at death, their souls will return to God that gave them, and are in immediate happiness with Christ. It will be an everlasting joy, no more sin or unbelief, no more corruption, no more sorrow or sighing, no more of Satan's temptations, no more distresses, all the tears will be wiped away.
English Puritan Henry Scudder, "Get not only faith in HIs promises, but in His providence also. When you shall see no way or means of gaining the good you desire, or of keeping you from the evil you feel, then call to mind, not only the promises of God, I am with you, I will not leave or forsake you, all things work together for good, and many such like, but believe also, but that God will provide means to bring to pass what He hath promised, though yet you see not how. When you can say with faithful Abraham, 'God will provide', it will cast out fear and doubt."
Knowing that if God is for us, then who could be against us, English Puritan George Swinnock says of Psalm 39:9, "If you would be silent, then hold fast this principle, that what God wills is best, when He wills sickness, sickness is better than health, when He wills weakness, weakness is better than strength, when He wills want, want is better than wealth, when He wills reproach, reproach is better than honor, when He wills death, death is better than life. As God is wisdom itself, and so knows that which is best, so He is goodness itself, and therefore cannot do anything but that which is best, therefore hold thy peace."
In 35 years of being a disciple of Christ, my cup indeed runneth over on what I have learned from a variety of sources. And I hope that by sharing some of these nuggets of truth with you, that you are greatly benefitted by them. "The joy of the Lord will be our strength."(Neh.8:10)
Elder Randy Slak