Always be full of joy in the Lord! Again I say, Rejoice! (Philippians 4:4)I don’t know about you, but I don’t always do so well with being joyful. Paul tells the Thessalonians to be joyful ALWAYS (1 Thes. 5:16), and ALWAYS seems like a little much to ask. My moods don’t cooperate with me on this one. Sometimes I like to be a little self-righteous about my busy-ness and lack of joy.
Be real. The world is falling apart, life isn’t going according to plan, there’s so much more to be done than I can accomplish in the allotted time, and especially not if I’m dilly dallying about being joyful.Ummm hmmmm.
I can just see God shaking his head. Peter reminds us how very patient God is (2 Peter 3:9). Actually, so do all the prophets in the Old Testament. Maybe God would say, “You just keep on with your little tantrum. Go on. Tire yourself out. I’ll be here waiting when you’re done.”
And there he is waiting just like he promised, surprising me with little bits of himself….in the prayer that came in my email this morning…in the gift of information that I didn’t know I needed but will be useful in preparing the studies and sermons that need to be prepared…in the writing of this blog.
I’ve known people who seem to be joyful always, but I’ve been suspicious. Is it just a face they’ve learned to wear so well? Or is it real?
I know God is ALWAYS with us, and I said it again in my sermon on Sunday—we just have to turn to him and we will find that he is there (Isaiah 43:11-13 et al).
But another email I got this week said that sometimes we don’t find God when we turn because we don’t really want to. Moses says we will find him if we look with all our hearts (Deut. 4:29), and I know there were times I didn’t want to hear from God because I sensed it would mean dealing with something difficult. Maybe this is my problem with joy, too. I don’t have joy ALWAYS because sometimes I’m not ready for it.
I’m thinking that’s a good prayer for Advent—Lord, make me ready for your joy.
What about you? How will you be ready for joy?