Don't Miss The Joy

Joy

The other week I was overwhelmed. Yep. I was at my wits end and had to keep going because of the pile of work that was laid before me. Exhausted and weary, I went to the kitchen to make a cup of coffee to fight the sleepiness that was overtaking me. As I poured the water and ground the coffee beans, a swift aroma caught my nose. I breathed it in and continued the coffee making process. As hot coffee began to drip into the pot and the small of beans filled the air, the Lord reminded me of this one thing: don't miss the joy. Each day we miss the joy He has set before us. When days don't go as we perfectly planned them, we automatically negate them as being a waste or a complete wash. But God sees this differently. He has woven the Gospel into the fabric of the earth. Even in a bad day, He wants to show us redemption. When everything is going wrong, He wants us to embrace the "joy of salvation." The problem is, we miss it. 

As the the coffee made all kinds of bubbling sounds and made my hot cup of caffeine, my heart stilled. I don't want to miss the joys of today and mistake them as problems. What if God has great things in store for us in the mess? 

Joy has always been a mysterious fruit of the spirit to me. It is so mysterious because I sometimes feel I have only truly tasted of it a few times in my life. My salvation, dating my husband and then marrying him, traveling to other countries on mission trips, these are moments I've understood the joy of the Lord. But what about the everyday? The day when things are just tough? I believe God wills for His believers to have joy at all times and in all things because of Christ Jesus. 

Psalm 16:11 shows us where joy is found:

"You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore."

Where is "fullness of joy" found? In the presence of the Lord. Psalm 22:3 tells us that God dwells in the praises of His people. Joy is found in hearts of praise. A heart that is set on enjoying God and all that He is has all the joy in the world. When we praise God, we take our eyes off of our messed up days and lives and embrace the glory of His love and the hope we have in Christ.

We will never be truly joyful people apart from Christ. Hebrews 12:2 tells us this truth:

"Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God." 

Jesus endured the cross for the joy that was set before Him. His love for us ran deeper than the pain He knew He'd endure. Jesus' joy was in the glory of God, and that is where our joy is as well. We must embrace the beauty of the Gospel and live our lives in the shadow of the cross to truly embrace the joy God has for us in the everyday. The cross was hard. As a matter of fact, hard still doesn't even grasp what Jesus went through. Jesus suffered in ways we will never know for us. Yet He knew that through that He would embrace the joy set before Him.

In your bad days, the ones where you want to give up and give in, look to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of your faith who endured the cross for you. And then look at your own cross that you bear, pick it up and walk. Don't miss the joy of bearing your cross daily.

I'm right there with you.

embracing the joy,

Gretchen