For the joy of the Lord is your strength. Nehemiah 8:10
We Christians have much to be joyful about. Consider this: your sins are forgiven; you have a heavenly Father who loves you, who delights in you, and who gives you the strength and guidance of His Holy Spirit every moment of every day. Furthermore, you have a home in heaven where you will spend all eternity with Jesus and all of God’s family. The list of reasons for joy goes on and on. Paul reminds us that joy is at the heart of the Christian life.
For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Romans 14:17
Here is a story to illustrate one source of joy for me. A few years ago I took my two eldest grandchildren, Kathryn and Jakob, to pick up an orchid for their great-great-grandmother, Velma Russell, known to all as Mimi. During our shopping adventure we decided to visit WalMart. On the way in Jakob noticed the golden arches over the door. “Papa,” he said, “I see the Madonald’s sign. You know, I’m kinda thirthty.”
So the three of us sat down to enjoy a soft drink and to talk about serious life issues, such as why it’s important to put a lid on a cup and the things Papa used to do with the wrappers from the straws.
Then we made a swing through the toy department. We spent most of our time in the section which contains the books that make sounds. We tried each one of them. I especially liked the one that contained my favorite cartoon characters – Bugs Bunny, Elmer Fudd, Tweetie and Sylvester. Jake and I pushed every button in that book, and laughed at each sound. Whoever said that grandpas were just “old little boys” hit the nail on the head. Meanwhile, Kathryn was having her own little party looking at and listening to a book about Pocahontas.
It occurs to me that such merriment is part and parcel of the Christian life. We have been called to joy. We can rejoice even in the midst of struggle, because we know that our lives are in God’s hands and that our futures are secure. Let’s drink deeply from the fountain of God’s love and live every moment in the joy of the Lord.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13