So the other week I thought I was so clever. For some reason I was thinking about the word JOY and wham! It thunked in my “thunker” that the word JOURNEY contains the word JOY. And being a mostly optimistic person, I immediately began pondering on how joy really can be found in just about every journey in life.
Of course, as days have marched on I now realize my brilliant observation no doubt has been used many times by others. But even though it’s not a completely original concept, the concept DOES contain truth.
So let’s look at what joy is not and also at what joy is.
Joy is not:
- A smile or a laugh
- The absence of trouble or problems
- A surface emotion
- A deep conviction of contentment
- A sense of well-being despite circumstances
- A state of mind and orientation of the heart
By looking at what joy is, we can begin understanding how it can indeed be part of every journey. In the midst of trouble when we feel peace and well-being…that is joy. When unsure what the future holds yet we experience contentment…that is joy, too. And when we decide to trust and rely on God, when we find His peace, and when we set our hearts on Him despite what’s going on around us…that is also joy.
Joy is a settled state of contentment, confidence and hope. (John Piper, Quest: Joy, Found: Christ!)
I’m not saying it’s easy or that it comes naturally but I do believe joy is a by-product of an ever deepening relationship with God. So my prayer for this year is that next January, when I look back on 2016, I will see that my own journey has become more joy-filled as I’ve grown closer to the One who holds me in His arms and directs my steps.
Reminder from James 1:2 (NLT): Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.
May we all find great joy in 2016.