“The joy of the Lord is your strength”
“We already have perfect compassion, wisdom and joy.
We only need to settle our minds so they can arise from deep within us”.
Heart of a Buddha, 2003
By Juarlyn Gaiter
There are times when the Spirit speaks to us so clearly that it is impossible to miss the message. I imagine that you have experienced an awareness of times like that in your life. Think of when your much too ambitious “To Do List” got done with little effort, or when what seemed to you to be a problem was accomplished with ease and everything just worked out. These are examples of every day miracles. God makes these good outcomes happen for us because God delights in bringing us joy.
Sometimes we can genuinely feel joyous, but we identify joy as all about being happy. Are we aware that happiness can walk into a room, suck out all of the oxygen, and leave joy over in a corner? Why is it that we have an easy going, warm comfort level with being happy while giving joy the cold shoulder? I think that happiness has become our default setting, even though it comes and goes at the feeling level. For example, we say that we are happy to finally get rid of cable television. We are happy for a clean bill of health -after a long and dangerous illness- and we are very happy to go on a long vacation.
Happy tends to get all of the mention while joy stands close by waiting to be acknowledged. The truth is that Joy is our spiritual birthright. It is ever present in all of us. Joy resides deep inside our hearts and stays with us always and forever.
“These things have I spoken unto you,
that my joy may remain in you,
and that your joy might be full.”
We can endorse this truth, no matter that in our daily round we hear reports of cheating scandals, acts of senseless violence, and tragedy. Remarkably, we can still find the joy in our lives despite all that we may experience as children of God. A scripture verse, Psalm 30:5b, is a faithful rock for some of us, who have heard it recited time and time again: “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” I cannot recall how many times that I have quoted this verse to myself and to my friends. We can realize how blessed we are to express joy, because as children of God we are assured that: “The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; He will save, He will rejoice over thee with joy; He will rest in His love, He will joy over thee with singing.” (Zephaniah 3:17)
A Christian author talks about joy in this way:
“To be joyful in the universe is a brave and reckless act. The courage for joy springs not from the certainty of human experience, but the surprise. Our astonishment at being loved, our bold willingness to love in return— these wonders promise the possibility of joyfulness, no matter how often and how harshly love seems to be lost. Therefore, despite the world’s sorrows, we give thanks for our loves, for our joys and for the continued courage to be happily surprised.”
Molly Fumia, 1994 from A Grateful Heart by M.J. Ryan
In this Lenten season, as we pray and seek God’s guidance and forgiveness, let’s bypass “happy” and show up for joy because we know the truth — Easter is coming!
Dear Precious Lord,
Thank you for joy that You have placed deep down in our hearts.
We remember your faithful promise to keep watch over us no matter
what is going on in our lives. Thank You for assuring us that You are our
ever present help in every need. Let it be so.
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