Joy - Advent Week 3
Advent Week 3
by Katie Walker
When I think of people who have joy, I think of my friend Hannah, who was recently diagnosed with brain cancer. Her husband had this to say in the midst of it:
“It seems odd to say this, and I don’t want anyone to have to face what Hannah is facing, but life has a sweetness about it when going through a trial...It’s NOT easy, at times it’s unbearable, but there is a peace and sweetness still. I can’t explain it.”
Hannah is in the thick of it and is still joyful, but she also lived in the joy of the Lord before her brain cancer. She has constantly SHINED with joy, day in and day out. She is an amazing example of joy: she knows who her Heavenly Father is, she knows how He loves her, and she knows what He’s done and can do on her behalf.
Sometimes I’m afraid that I’m “due” for suffering, because I haven’t experienced much; but God isn’t worried about my suffering score, and He doesn’t dole out the gift of His joy as if there isn’t enough for everyone in every situation. As we experience both times of suffering and times of abundance, we can know God’s joy in ALL of that. The good and the bad. So how do I have joy, then? I think a big part of knowing God’s joy is remembering.
I must remember truth. In trial or in times of comfort, I have to daily remind myself of the truth. I was dead in my sin. God lifted me out of my sin because He loves me with abandon. I did nothing to earn this. God freely gave the life of His Son because He loves me. I’ve been lifted out of darkness and into the glorious light.
God’s true gospel brings joy! Not only should I remember the gospel but also God’s promises. The Holy Spirit fills me with joy! Romans 15:13 asks,
“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.”
The fruit of the Spirit includes joy (Galatians 5:22-23). This isn’t something I can conjure up, rather it’s part of who the Holy Spirit promises to be in my life as I live out my journey as a follower of Christ. This is promised to me as I suffer and as I prosper. Joy is also complete simply in knowing my Heavenly Father. Psalm 16:11 says,
“You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.”
My Father is just as good, beautiful, powerful, glorious, breathtaking - and a million other awesome adjectives - in and out of suffering.
So, to those who are suffering: God is good no matter what. To quote my friend Hannah,
“[God] allows my eyes, heart, and ears to experience only His orchestration! I continue to trust this journey. I love JESUS no matter what!”
And to those who are not: God is good no matter what. God gives joy to those who trust in Him. The fruit of the Holy Spirit includes joy. You have the joy of the Lord. Remember His truth.