by Ryan Duncan
But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you. – Psalm 5:11
I am a pessimist, just ask anybody I know. For me, the cup will always be half empty and whatever's in the cup will probably be backwash. So you can imagine the concept of joy has always been rather hard for me. The Bible, particularly the book of Psalms, is constantly telling Christians to have joy. Reading about joy is easy though, putting it into practice is a lot harder.
How are we supposed to have joy when our cars break down, when bills pile up, when bad days just get progressively worse? For me, it's almost insulting for someone to tell me things like, "count your blessings" or, "things could have been worse" when I'm in the middle of cleaning up a crisis. I've often wondered if this makes me a bad Christian. Over time, I did realize my attitude could certainly use some work, but I also learned that our idea of joy has become somewhat skewed.
Take a look at these verses from the book of John:
I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.
- John 16:20-22
A pastor of mine once told me being joyful is not necessarily the same thing as being happy. We live in a fallen world, and odds are, we are going to have tough times over the years. So when the bad times come it doesn't mean we have to dance around and be happy about it, you just have to remember that these moments won't last forever. The bad things in our life cannot become what define us, instead, we have to trust God and remember the grace he has shown us. He will help us endure and won't abandon us to sorrow or despair. So take a moment, whatever your situation, to be joyful. No matter how bad things get, God is with us.
Further Reading: Psalm 132
Source: Crosswalk.com Devotional
God of All Comfort by Rev. Bryn MacPhail
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