“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11.
This morning as I consider the study of joy it is critical for me to remember my new understanding of this gift from the Holy Spirit. Joy is the settled assurance that God is in control of every detail in my life. Joy is the quiet confidence that everything is going to be alright. Joy is the intentional choice to praise God apart from what life produces. Joy is not happiness! Happiness is an earthly by-product of a happening while joy is an inward conviction of our faith.
We have seasons in life when joy does not smile but simply resides in the heart and waits on God to be faithful in His promises. When we face these times, joy looks to God instead of looking for a quick fix. Joy searches the wonderful past works of God for assurance for the future. Joy believes God for what He says in His word. Joy memorizes the convictions of its faith…God is reliable…God is incomparable…God is loving…God’s will is perfect. Joy speaks out when resolution keeps quiet. Joy and pain can co-exist when our joy is anchored in the only One source – God.
God speaks to our hearts through this passage above. He says ‘My son, I haven’t forgotten about you.’ He declares, ‘My daughter, I am going to prosper you through this difficult season.’ He assures us, ‘Precious children, what may look like harmful circumstances are being worked towards my perfect will to bring you the best future that you deserve.’
When we allow our faith to see our challenges through God’s value system we can wear joy as our spiritual eye glasses. ‘Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.’ 2 Co. 4:16-18.
Joy sees intense seasons as achieving…producing…preparing…renewing. Joy knows with complete confidence that although tears flow and the body is tired these seasons are temporary. Even as the eyes of joy may cry, it looks towards the eternal with complete certainty in God.