In Webster’s New World Compact Dictionary of American English, it is no coincidence that the word “happen” comes before “happy”. Happiness is associated with what happens. A beautiful sunny day, a birth of a baby, a raise on a job, a family vacation, all these things and much more makes people happy. But what happens when it’s been raining and overcast for a week, or the baby is born with a disability, or you lose your job, or the family vacation ends in a tragedy. Many believers have experienced one or more of these things. So, don’t they have a right not to be happy? They sure do! God doesn’t require us to be happy. But, He does require us to be joyful. Philippians 4:4 says, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.” However, it’s definitely a fight for joy in the midst of unhappy circumstances.
February 10, 2003 marks the day of my personal death to happiness. Before then a lot made me happy…my family, my husband, my home, my job, etc. I was one happy girl! Then God wrecked my little happy life for my good & His glory. He allowed my son to be born extremely premature and have a syndrome that severely affects his well being. At 6:38 AM that day, I gave birth to my son, but little did I know, God was bringing forth a new birth of joy within my soul. My Lord replaced my temporary, conditional happiness with all satisfying, lasting joy. Below are 3 ways that God is helping me to stay joyful.
How a Believer Can Have Lasting Joy
1) Joy comes from following God’s commandments & abiding in His love.
If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. John 15:10-11
2) Joy comes from putting your trust in the God of hope.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. Romans 15:13
3) Joy comes from offering up sacrifices of praise to the Lord.
Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. Hebrews 13:15-16
My lips will shout for joy, when I sing praises to you; my soul also, which you have redeemed. Psalm 71:23
Although people and circumstances will continue to change, we shouldn't fear, but continue to trust in the Lord (Psalm 112:7). Our joy must come from Jesus, the One who NEVER changes (Hebrews 13:8).
May the Joy of the Lord be your strength today!