One common misperception regarding joy is that it is linked to your happiness. As Christians, we are promised JOY as a gift from God; we are not, however, guaranteed happiness. Jesus tells us that storms will come. He then teaches us to rebuke the storms and to stand firm in faith, but in the end, He still teaches that storms will come.
Our lives will be riddled with pain and heartache. There will be sickness, death and poor circumstances. We will face financial struggles. Marriages will have rough patches, kids will rebel. We will face lay offs and unfair things will happen. These are exterior circumstances, they affect our happiness. It is human to be sad, it is human to get upset. I had such a problem with the book of Psalms a couple years back. It seemed like David was just such a whiner. It never stopped, I got depressed listening to his moaning. But, after maturing a bit in Christ, I realize that this is what God desires of us. He created us with emotion for a purpose. The word says that we were made to worship Him. By sharing our emotions in a Godly way, we are doing what we were made to do.
When David called out in Psalm 22,
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?
O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer,
and by night, but I find no rest.
was he sinning? No, God longs for us to be transparent with Him. He knows our thoughts before we speak them; but He wants us to speak them. To get them out and hand them over to Him is the goal. He wants to know that we trust Him enough to ask the hard questions.
David goes on in the next verse,
Yet you are holy,
enthroned on the praises of Israel.
4In you our fathers trusted;
they trusted, and you delivered them.
5To you they cried and were rescued;
in you they trusted and were not put to shame.
He complained to God and then elevated Him above the circumstance. The second portion is the example of JOY. In David’s unhappiness he cried out to God, but in his JOY he praised Him.
Know that you will suffer great things, John 15:20 says,
Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also.
But know also that JOY is a fruit of the Spirit of God that lives within you. It is always there, it is your job to tap into it. Pray God will give you a new measure of JOY today. Regardless of your surroundings; choose to praise Him and receive the JOY of the LORD!