â€śThou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.â€ť Psalms 16:11
In issue 13 we briefly touched on the joy we have in God, with a clear understating how King David found joy in an intimate relationship with his Creator, even in the midst of overwhelming opposition. Our life is filled with ups and downs, bright days and much darker ones; there are times when it seems as if everything is falling into place, yet others were things just fall apart. The sweet Psalmist of Israel, David, experienced this as much as anyone. However, in his darkest and brightest days, there was one place He found joy to be forever present, God.
We are no different, there is one place we will always find joy, in the presence of God. We all experience heavy hearts at times and the pain may feel unbearable, but under the shadow of our Lordâ€™s wings, we find joy this world can never provide.
When you are in a place of darkness and struggling to find peace in your life, with joy only alluding you at every turn, get away from the synthetic world which tantalizing us daily with promises of fulfillment and get into the presence of God. There are many determents to joy, but it is the absence from the presence of God which is the greatest culprit. There are people in our lives who seemingly suck the joy right out of everything, no matter how hard we work or the level of sacrifice displayed, they will always be there to rob the joy out of everything. The Bible calls these souls gainsayers (Titus 1.9), in other words they are opposers. The bottom line is there will always be people like this in the world and unfortunately it seems as if there will be at least one in our midst no matter where we serve. Even though they are the active force in robbing us from joy, remember we do not have to allow a thief entryway to our homes. The remedy to such affliction will still be is getting into the presence of God. We may need to turn on some quiet and instrumental hymns, read the Psalms dealing with joy and start pouring out our heart to the Lord. Bearing our deepest emotions while spending ample time recounting all the blessings He has given us. There is a hymn we should sing regularly, if not in our churches at least in our life, â€śCount Your Blessingsâ€ť. The opening line reads, â€śCount your blessing name them one by one, count your blessing see what God hath done, count your many blessings, name one by one, and it will surprise what the Lord hath done.â€ť If and when we take inventory of the blessings the Lord has brought into our lives, then and only then will we begin to develop an attitude of thanksgiving. Such an attitude is the vital ingredient needed to cultivate a life experiencing and living in joy. One earmark of those who lack joy in their life and seek to rob joy from the life of others is the lack of gratitude toward God. They say the right words to appear thankful, humble and caring, yet at the root of the matter, within their heart, lives an attitude of entitlement sifting the joy from the heart and soul. Such planted seeds reap a harvest of a personality filled with criticism, callousness and character flaws, which go forth reproducing a joyless life in those around them. In many ways they resemble a cancer, which exist only to take life and rob its surrounding environment of peace and joy.
Beloved, these things not only do not have to be, but should not. In our times of suffering, darkness and attacks joy will only be found in Him, in God the one creator of all joy. It will not be found in this world, people, or things, but in solely in His presence. The presence of God is the only way to have joy despite the season in our life. James said, by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, â€śMy brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.â€ť (James 1:2-4)
Joy in suffering and attacks can be quite difficult, but will come increasingly natural as we place the path David spoke of in our opening text, into action. In the midst of our trials, challenges and even the gainsayers, it is tempting to develop the â€śwoe is meâ€ť outlook and travel down a dark path of pity. David offers an example in direct contradiction to such maneuvers and James 1 instructs us to do the exact opposite. This, my friend, is the game changer for our life allowing joy to reign.
Beloved, we will only lack joy in our life, when we lack the presence of our Lord. During our dark seasons or times of dealing with difficult people, we must allow joy to remain; remember joy is not based upon the circumstances of our life, but rather the presence of God.