Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Where Does Joy Come From?

Where does joy come from? Well, the quick answer is that joy comes from God. The Bible teaches us that joy is a fruit of God's Spirit. In other words, joy comes from the Spirit of God who dwells within the life of the Christian believer. But how does God supply us with joy? How do we experience joy in the journey and circumstances of life?

Our immediate answers to those questions might lead us to think of the happy occasions in life...when a child is born, when a prayer is answered, when time is spent with someone we love, or when things are going well for us along the journey. But I wonder, can we only experience joy in the happy occasions of life?

At the present time, God is teaching me that joy can also come to us in the trials and sad occasions of life. The other day I was reading the Letter of James in the New Testament when I saw these words, "Consider it pure JOY, my brothers, when you face trials of many kinds." (James 1:2) What is the logic here? James goes on to say that trials force us to persevere in our faith. He continues by saying that perseverance is necessary for us to become what God created us to be. So here is the logic: If we are facing a trial or trials, God is continuing to mold us and create us. What more could bring joy than to know that God is working in us and preparing us for something better or greater than our present circumstances...namely, His heavenly kingdom.

I don't rejoice in having trials more than anyone else. But I am learning to find joy in the fact that God is working even when it looks like the world, both personal and global, is falling apart. Part of faith is believing that God is doing something great even when everything looks terrible.

Paul said it like this: "Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known." (1 Corinthians 13:12) I look forward to the day when I understand the "what" and the "why" of what God is doing. Until then, I will trust that God knows better than I and is working out His plan in me...even in the trials.

God is good!