Where Joy is Found
“You make known to me the path of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence, with eternal pleasures at Your right hand.” Psalm 16:11
Some of my darkest periods have occurred when I’ve appeared to have every reason for joy. And I’ve experienced deep joy during difficult and painful situations.
About ten years ago, our family moved to a small town northeast of Kansas City, MO. Though we weren’t wealthy, our finances were solid, our marriage strong, and our home largely tension free.
But I was miserable. In pursuing what I thought would bring me joy, I robbed myself of it.
At the time, I was working toward a teaching degree though I knew God wanted me to write. I had no problem obeying, so long as I could do so on my terms, which involved self-protection and guaranteed financial payoffs.
But God was calling me to surrender my plans, wisdom, and my desire for a secure 401K and steady paycheck.
The cost felt too high, so I resisted, and through disobedience, distanced myself from God and His love.
Light—and joy—flooded in the moment I surrendered.
When chronic illness hit five years later, in the middle of my uncertainty and pain, I experienced peace.
And joy. A joy much greater and stronger and more abiding than my circumstances—a joy found in abundance as I sat, each day, in God’s presence.
As we hit pause on our busyness and each day’s stressors, as we allow His gentle whisper to drown out our worries and fears, He births His joy within us.
This gift doesn’t necessarily abate our sorrow. In fact, joy and sorrow, even intense sorrow, can quite naturally co-exist. It did for Jesus, as He wept in the Garden on the night before His death.
Joy isn’t an emotion. Those come and go based on countless external circumstances. Rather, joy is a deep awareness and appreciation for God’s love and grace, which is always at work, even in our darkest moments.
Jennifer Slattery is a writer, editor, speaker, and the founder of Wholly Loved Ministries. She writes for Crosswalk, is a multi-published author of Hometown Healing among other titles who also writes articles, Bible studies, and devotions. When not writing, reading, or editing, Jennifer loves going on mall outings with her adult daughter and coffee dates with her hilariously fun husband. Visit her online at jenniferslatterylivesoutloud.com or book her for your next women’s event.
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