Joy. I wrote about joy on my blog two years ago. I rambled on about pizza, and a dream and whether the dream was from my subconscious, from God, or just indigestion from the pizza I had eaten from the previous night.
I had written the dream down in my journal because I rarely remember dreams as vividly as that particular one and I know that God sometimes speaks to me through those kinds of dreams.
I'd like to share some of what I wrote then with you now. Not the dream part, but the joy part.
Just 7 days after the journal entry about the dream I wrote these words...
May 10, 2018. Thursday p.m.
WHERE IS THE JOY?!?!
That's it. Just three words.
I honestly don't even remember what happened to prompt me to write those words down, but apparently, at the time something had occurred that made me question God.
You see, over a span of two years, I had multiple people prophesy over me that God is going to restore my joy. I thought...what? I have joy! I'm not a 'joyless' person.
And then it occurred to me... when I was younger I had so much more joy that it was evident to others around me. My mama would tell me that I was such a happy little girl that I would go around singing all the time. When I was twelve she wrote a short poem about me. Here are the last lines of that poem...
...How does your laughter grow?
With God's merry blessing,
We can all learn a lesson__
By watching your inner glow!
In my teens, an older gentleman in the choir at my church nicknamed me Happy. Even my husband has told me that I don't sing around the house the way I used to. I realized that I'm not THAT joy-filled girl anymore. What happened?
A song is playing in my head. Cue the song, Where is the Love? sung by Roberta Flack. Only in my head, I am hearing the word love replaced with the word joy.
Where is the joy?
You said was mine all mine, 'till the end of time
Was it just a lie?
Where is the joy?
I know ...I know! The rest of the song is totally inappropriate to my point. Still...it's on replay in my brain. And so I cry out with the words of the psalmist, "Restore to me the joy of my salvation!"
Sometimes, life creeps in...disappointment, unmet expectation, family illness, death, you name it...bringing with it all the drama and trauma to destroy our boundless joy in the Lord. It can happen...and the boundless energy that joy brings is replaced with a 'tired' that just sits in your bones. You know what I mean? Even though we are relatively happy and still trusting in the goodness of God...that bone aching weariness can set in and steal our joy.
I think that I struggle with that weariness from time to time. Life can be hard. I struggled even writing this article about joy because I have been feeling the angst of the current climate of unrest in our world. When there is unrest, when there is uncertainty, in some sense we lose a bit of our security.
Security...we all long to feel secure, loved, safe, protected. When I was a little girl I felt all of that at once...loved, safe, protected, secure...all of it. Perhaps that is why I was a joyful child. Laughter came easy.
Even though my dad died when I was just 10 years old, my mother managed to continue to make us all feel safe and secure. As my mom explained to us, God had chosen to take my daddy home instead of letting him die the slow, painful death his doctors had predicted. God loved us so much that he took daddy home to not only prevent his suffering but our own as well. So, instead of such a traumatic event taking away my sense of security, it reinforced it because I was secure in knowing that God was taking care of me, my daddy, and our family. God is good. And my joy was abundant because I was not abandoned. I was not alone. I was secure in His hands.
As a child, the ability to trust God is so pure and simple. But then as we grow up, life happens, and our sense of security weakens. And we begin to ask God questions.
Job, who lost everything, had questions too. Pain tends to do that...pain from loss, physical pain...emotional pain...leaves us asking, "WHY?"
Job asked that same question from different angles. He wrestled with the big questions. God, what is your purpose in all of this? Please God, help me understand your ways! Why am I even here on this earth? I'm thinking Job surely lost his joy because in losing it all he lost his sense of security.
Job, had friends who failed him miserably. They began well...they took the time to just sit with him...not talking, just offering their presence. But then they opened their big mouths and began offering their own opinions as to why Job was suffering and it all went downhill from there. Job's pain actually worsened! There is no joy in being judged by one's friends.
In Job 38:1 we read...
"Then the LORD answered Job out of the storm..."
...and the answer continues with God's questions through four chapters! Those questions reveal the very nature and character of God. And while we know Job never questioned the existence of God, he certainly had been feeling abandoned by God. So, within all those questions, God was letting Job know that He was with him through it all. He had not abandoned Job.
God, who was with him through it all, pulled back the veil to reveal His presence at the most important moment of Job's life and Job replied...
"My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you"
God restored Job and we are told that the Lord blessed the latter part of Job's life more than the first. I'm thinking in all of that restoration the "joy of his salvation" was restored as well. He was again safe and secure in his relationship with God.
So if my premise is correct, that our joy is toggled to our sense of security. Then I need to ask myself, "Where are you looking to find that sense of security...of being held, being heard, being loved, and carried through the storm?
And the realization floods over me...God answered Job "out of the storm" because He was in the storm with him.
He is with me in this storm...He is carrying me...He hears me...He loves me! In His arms, I am safe and secure.
And tears of JOY flood my eyes! God is good!
WRITTEN BY: GAY IDLE
For more from Gay, head to her website: www.gayidle.com
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