Where IS My Joy?!
By Dawn Mast
What has happened to all your joy? Galatians 4:15
Do you remember seeing videos of the porch pirates? These are the thieves who steal packages from porches and the pictures were often grainy images of someone who didn’t want their face seen. They were deceptive, stealthy, and cruel. They especially targeted the porches with several large packages, knowing those were a gold mine of free treasures.
Just thinking about those porch pirates should make us angry! Aren’t you a little bit irritated when you’ve worked hard for something and it’s stolen from you? Or you’ve been given a gift and someone else just shows up and takes it? The nerve!
Now picture those beautiful packages on the porch as our joy (blessings from Jesus) that Satan is stealing. Jesus came so we can have an abundant life and live it to the full, but Satan shows up and takes what doesn’t even belong to him. John 10:10 says, “The thief comes ONLY to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.” We should be outraged! The enemy has no right! Let’s get angry about that!
This whole past year has been awful for most of us. With the exception of our son proposing to his beautiful, godly girlfriend and us getting a puppy, our year has been beyond hard and painful. Cancer. Covid restrictions. Five months of unemployment. Political arguments that were terribly divisive. My parents with serious health issues. There were plenty of times when my joy was stolen, killed, and destroyed. Do you feel the same?
All of this brings to mind Galatians 4:8-15 where Paul begins by a reminder about what the Galatians were formerly when they didn’t know God. He points out they have been turning to “weak and miserable principles”. It’s so easy for us to do that too. We get down and depressed and start eating unhealthy food, binge-watching TV, drinking, and hanging out with the wrong crowds. Before we know it, our joy is dangerously low.
Then Paul asks the hard question in verse 15 “What has happened to all your joy?” Excellent question!
Thousands of years later we ask the same question of our current situation. One explanation of what has happened to our joy is we forget how far we’ve come with our faith because we get beaten down by the hard, joy stealing things of the world and we forget what Jesus has done for us.
Joy will be depleted if not replenished. Paul points out to the Galatians they had lost their joy. The Galatians had lost their joy because of legalism and the way it pointed out their shortcomings and not how far they had come with their faith in Jesus.
It’s easy for our joy to feel depleted. You must feel like you’ve spent most of the year sitting on your porch watching pirates take away beautifully wrapped boxes that were meant for you. After 6 or 10 or 12 months you don’t even care as you watch your joy walk off in the hands of someone who doesn’t deserve it.
Jesus longs for us to be joyful. Today, remember, there is no person, plague, or porch pirate that has permission to take what Christ has given you.
When it seems like so much negative is outweighing all the positives in your day, your life, or your year it’s helpful to take a big step backward. By taking a look back we gain perspective and see how God was faithful and fulfilled His promises to us at other times. Where we are can seem heavy and overwhelming, and the future is uncertain even though we know God is already there. But when we look at how far we have come with the Lord beside us each step of the way, we can feel encouraged and have boldness to go to the next step in faith.
Father God, I know You did not fail. When I feel defeated and when my joy has been completely depleted, I know that’s just the world taking its toll on me. You had the same things happen to You! I ask that You would restore my joy, Lord, and bring my heart into a right relationship with You as I long to walk in Your Way. Thank You, Lord, for going before me and for being trustworthy and true in the middle of the storms of life. You are faithful and bring true joy! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
For more encouragement, visit Dawn at thatdawnonme.wordpress.com
© 2021 by Dawn Mast. All rights reserved.
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