by Brandy Webb
I remember when I was a child how easy it was to be joyful. A giddy feeling that would hit the pit of my stomach when I knew something awesome was just around the corner. Not being able to sleep the night before the Feast of Tabernacles because I was so excited about the trip and meeting new people. Or, the times with my friends that bursts of uncontrollable laughter would erupt at absolutely nothing in particular, but we couldn’t stop laughing.
Now, those were the good old days. Seriously, though, it is sad how hard sometimes it can be to be joyful when we get older. When I was a child, finding things to be joyful was as easy as playing outside with my friends or sitting in a corner reading a book. I know a lot of it has to do with the fact that life’s worries and strains are not as noticeable when we were children as they are now. For example, I have heard stories from older people that say that they didn’t realize that they were poor until they got older and looked back.
Life can snuff out our joy as we age, if we let it. Joy for me is a warm fire that burns in my stomach causing whips of excitement to flame up here and there giving me a sensation of complete peace and acceptance. It is that flame that when life is falling apart around you it warms you from the inside like letting you know it will all work out, and you find yourself smiling instead of crying.
The thing is we can’t let this world snuff it out. The soot of years of disappointments, struggles, trials, and hardships, will try to snuff it out. It will cover joy to the point where the smoke isn’t even visible, but the truth is, under all that soot and ash, is a tiny spark that with God’s Holy Spirit can be set a flame again. It can relight, burning away all the world’s soot, to the point where your frown can be turned upside down.
The best way to fight against joy stealing soot is to go to scripture. We know that this world is not all there is, and that fact alone should fill us with joy. Therefore “do not be surprised at the terrible trouble which now comes to test you. Do not think that something strange is happening to you. But be happy that you are sharing in Christ’s sufferings so that you will be happy and full of joy when Christ comes again in glory. When people insult you because you follow Christ, you are blessed, because the glorious Spirit, the Spirit of God, is with you” (1 Peter 4:12-14).
When life gets us down we need to also remember “a joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones” (Pro 17:22). This tells me that even if I want to fall on the ground kicking and screaming sometimes, I need to stop myself and strive to find something to be joyful about because it may just heal me from the inside. The truth is, scripture tells us over and over again to fight back against despair by rejoicing in all circumstances (1 Thess 5:16).
Remember, “those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy!” (Psa 126:5). Therefore, hold firm to the promises of God because “the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us,” (Rom 8:18). So, my prayer for today is “may the God of hope fill [us] with all joy and peace as [we] trust in Him, so that [we] may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit,” (Rom 15:13).