Real joy is Jesus Over You
We can all experience difficult times, but we have the assurance that God doesn't intend that we should be alone during those times.
Every woman wants to be joyful - and we're not selfish with this joy.We want it for ourselves and we want to share it generously with others around us. Joy brings the fresh air and zeal of life to our homes, to our friendships, to our health, and adds to the skip in our walk with God.
But so often our joy is quenched by the situations and circumstances that we face in life. We don't step out of bed in the morning hoping to have a miserable day. But some days it can simply feel like our bodies are ready for the day but our hormones or hearts are not!
Misery is heavy, it's hard and weighs us down. A miserable heart feels like wading through thick black treacle. Whereas joy is easy, it's light, its full of energy and its exciting to start the day with. "Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice!" (Phil 4:4 NLT)
That all sounds great but what exactly does being "full of joy" look like when I'm struggling through life's traumas, tragedies and troubles? When there is death, sickness, shame, pain, or poverty? In John 10:10 it says, the thief comes only to steal, to kill and to destroy; I have come that YOU may have life and have it to the full.
Having life 'to the full' is to be bursting, jam packed, loaded, brimming over, absolutely abundant, and having 'more than enough' - Even in struggles!
In the midst of trauma, Paul was still able to say, "I am filled [to the brim] with comfort; I am overflowing with joy in spite of all our trouble" (2 Cor 7:4 AMP). Paul is not underplaying or denying the suffering he is experiencing, but is simply leaning in to the closeness & comfort that he receives from God.
It's exactly in the testing times that we need the joy of the Lord to help us to stand, and to stand strong (Neh 8:10).
My grandson Judah stubbed his little toe & for a moment the pain overwhelmed him. His little face crumpled as he cried out, and his arms reached out for safety. I picked him up & held him close. The tears soon stopped and turned to giggles as I tickled him. Our Heavenly Father is ready too.
Too scoop us up into his loving arms, hold us close, to assure us, to comfort us and to bring us healing. He wipes our tears, turns our mourning into dancing, and releases a flow of joy that comforts and sustains us in our pain.
This joy I'm talking about is not a happiness that is derived from having certain possessions, or people in your life. That sort of 'joy' can be fragile and fleeting. It's also not an absence of pain or suffering because that joy fluctuates and is dependant on everything always being ok.
Real life, even as a Christian woman, is not always ok, and our joy is not an emotion that can be forced, fabricated or faked! Not even our best outfit, new shoes, favourite lipstick, or 'church smile' can emanate this 'joy in the Lord'.
John 15:11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete
But we do have access to this joy. This joy that is always Steadfast, always strong, and always supernatural. A joy that is not dependant on circumstances or feelings because it is not derived from ourselves! It comes from Jesus. John chapter 15 tells us that simply 'REMAINING in Him keeps us connected to the power source that only His joy provides.
Like a tree that sustains its branches with nourishment from its roots, Jesus takes the responsibility to refresh our souls with His supernatural, strong, sustaining joy, when we are rooted in Him.
The branch does nothing except depend on the tree for all it needs. God did not ever create us with the intention that we should deal with life's troubles by ourselves. We haven't got the capacity to carry these burdens alone. Like a child with outstretched arms, we reach to Him.
He lifts us up, holds us close. The pain loses its original force and becomes overshadowed by the comfort, closeness and security of the one who loves us. He is over our pain, problems, situations, circumstances. And that realisation brings us a joy that is rooted deep down.