About this time a few years ago (thanks to Timehop for the helpful reminder), I was having a conversation with Maria, a good friend of mine, about the power and purpose of joy in our lives. After chatting with her and meditating on this for quite awhile, I’ve come to realize that joy is not just helpful in our walk with Jesus but it is absolutely essential, especially when facing a trial or challenge. The Lord has continually affirmed to me that my joy will bring healing; consequently, joy has become a cornerstone in my relationship with Jesus and with other people. The enemy uses cancer to take so much from people physically that those of us overcoming this wretched disease have to decide from day one that our joy & emotions are strictly off limits.
It was my friend Maria who first noticed the difference that joy makes in our prayer life and daily conversations with God. When joy is absent, our prayers tend to resemble that of a fatherless, hopeless, and desperate child, begging for bread, money, or whatever it is that he might need. The absence of joy is like standing at the bottom of empty well, looking upward, longing for just one drop of water…straining, desperate for just one sip.
Psalm 6 shows of David’s remorse, stuck in sin and shame, begging God for forgiveness, redemption, and healing. “O Lord, do not rebuke me in your anger or discipline me in your wrath. Be merciful to me, Lord, for I am faint….I am worn out from groaning; all night I flood my bed with weeping and drench my couch with tears…my eyes fail because of my foes.” Obviously, David is drowning in his own junk and because of it, is unable to see and receive the heart, love, and intention of the Father.
How opposite of David’s begging for mercy is Moses’ declaration of God’s faithfulness in Psalm 91. Psalm 91 has long been my favorite Psalm but after researching its history, now I’m completely obsessed! I won’t write it in its entirety but this is my favorite part:
“Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call upon me and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation.”
YESS! With long life, He will satisfy me..because I acknowledge HIS NAME! His name is Provider, Banner, Peace, Healer, Most High. With joy, we are no longer sitting at the bottom of the well but we are lifted high, seated with Jesus, full of power and authority because we are resting on the assurance of who He is. Joy lifts us up so that we are no longer below our trials but instead we are higher, empowered to see our problem–cancer–with the eyes of Jesus–and realize that “He will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. You will tread upon the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent.” Psalm 91:11-13
Walking in joy doesn’t mean incessant laughter or walking naively through life. It’s the kind of joy that breeds peace, a result of resting & knowing who we are and who our Papa is. It’s walking through the day listening to the heart of God for your life. Joy doesn’t come automatically, and let’s be honest, it definitely doesn’t come for most in the morning…but it can! Wake up, choose joy & refuse to give another ounce of yourself to the enemy. Choose joy, pray in joy, and I guarantee you’ll find that your days get better, your smile gets bigger, and over time, you’ll wake up happy…and movable only by joy, not by fear.