If someone would ask you what you would miss most in the world, do you know what your answer would be? I do, it’s the thing without which life wouldn’t be worth living – joy! We can struggle through most of the things in life that confront us, but without joy I think most of us would agree that life is not worth living. Do you ever wonder what the Lord thinks about joy? I believe it is important for us to know because I think there are an awful lot of people who, going into church, put on a sober face believing that it is disrespectful to be too joyous when life is such a mess.
The book of Psalms was written as a book of praise thanking God for all He has done for His people. In the 16th chapter David tells us In Your presence is fullness of joy (11). Joy comes in very different forms and degrees as we journey through life, but as Christians, most of us are aware of the fact that the greatest joy we will ever know is when we will actually see our Lord and Savior face to face. It is true that during our earthly lives we will experience degrees of joy at one time or another and we often think to ourselves that it couldn’t possibly get any better than this. However, we as Christians know that the Word speaks only truth, so we eagerly look forward to the arrival of our Lord and an end to the triviality of today’s world.
Throughout the written Word of God we find many references to joy. The Psalmist, whose words were often sung to music, declared in Your presence is fullness of joy (16:11). Since most music is joyful this is not hard for us to understand. In the Olivet Discourse however, Jesus told the servants no matter the results of what they accomplished to Enter into the joy of your lord (Matthew 25:21). It seems that the results were not nearly as important as their efforts to please their Lord. That should be a good reminder to all of us that God is not as impressed with the results as He is with our willingness to try to reach the goal.
Peter was only one example of what the disciples gave up to follow the Lord they loved and suffer he did and yet he was able to leave these words for us in today’s world – In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes….may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love….receiving the end of your faith – the salvation of your souls (1st Peter 1:6-9).
In today’s world we all would like to avoid suffering and we do our very best to find the joy that fills up our tanks. Joy comes from many things, but the greatest joy we will ever know comes from the One who created joy in the first place, our Heavenly Father whose greatest joy was for us to know and share the joy He created. Where do we go to find it – it was left just for us in a book recorded by men who knew and experienced it for themselves.
When children leave and friends depart,
And all that’s left is what’s in my heart,
I will still have joy.
When days are dark and the sun fails to shine;
When my life looks empty there’ll be yet much that’s mine.
I will still have joy.
For God’s love never ceases, His mercy’s always there,
And the pleasure of His presence is what He most longs to share.
Praise God for joy!
- C. Ingersoll