Many people say, “Who will show us better times?” Let your face smile on us, Lord. You have given me greater joy than those who have abundant harvests of grain and new wine.”
Psalms 4:6-7 NLT
Have you ever been at a place in your life when you felt like goodness was a mirage that only disappeared when you thought you had reached it? The psalmist seems to express that very sentiment about some of the people of his time. It is easy to be become pessimistic about life but we must resist that temptation. The way to do this is to look to the Lord and allow His joy to fill our soul. Joy and happiness are not the same. Happiness is directly linked to things that are "happening". When circumstances are good it is easy to be "happy". When circumstances are not good it is easy to be sad and discouraged. "Joy", on the other hand, is not dependent upon circumstances. Joy is an inward characteristic that comes from having the presence of God in our lives. In Galatians 5:22, Paul refers to nine fruit that are borne forth in our lives when the Holy Spirit is in us. "Joy" is second on the list. Joy has to do with our relationship with God, not the circumstances of life. Joy is an inner contentment that gives us absolute assurance and confidence that God is with us and that He is able to raise us up out of the despair of this world. James admonishes us to consider our difficulties as opportunities for joy. “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” James 1:2-4 NLT Impossibilities with man are opportunities to God. I once read a statement in a room where a board meeting was being held by a Christian organization I serve. The statement, in essence, read: "The key to a happy life is a surrendered will". This isn't the exact quote, but it is the precise point it was making. The statement struck me and I have not forgotten it. There are many circumstances in life that challenge us. Our perception of these circumstances and our reaction to them is vital to our ability to maintain the proper view of the goodness of God. God is good!!! He always has been!!! He always will be!!! Sure, life isn't fair at times. We must remember that we are in a fallen world and battling Satan and his minions. We are green card carrying citizens of another country called "The New Jerusalem" (Heaven - see Revelation 21-22). Regardless of the situation in this life, God is our refuge of goodness. Without Him, life is hopelessly lost in despair, but with Him, life is hopeful and the best is yet to come. I must take a moment here and testify. I am so blessed that God has helped me bear up beneath the load of life's circumstances that I have faced. Because of His Holy presence, I have been able to see beyond the present. He is my source of absolute contentment. His joy floods my soul. His love comforts me. His peace settles me. Can I get a witness?? Somebody go ahead and testify? Do I hear some Amens? Go ahead and verbalize your praise. Stomp on the devils head in Jesus name! Put on the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. “To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for his own glory.” Isaiah 61:3 NLT Lift up your head, child of God.
He is with you and He is Good!
One last thing: Joy is best experienced in this way:
J - Jesus
O - Others
Y - Yourself
Prayer for today: Heavenly Father, in Jesus name , I come to you today. Help me see life through Your good eyes. Help me not get caught in the trap of pessimism that Satan has laid before me. By Your Holy Spirit, help me see through the temporary circumstances of life to the eternal things You have promised! I thank You for Your lovingkindness that is better than life itself. In the Most Holy Name of Jesus I pray! Amen!
Rev. Curtis Norris