My dog died earlier this year. She had been a good dog, a nervous little chihuahua/dachshund/beagle (we think!) mix who had spent the first 9 months of her life who knows where. At home with us, she was always grateful for her food, her soft bed, chin scratches, and a few table scraps. We give thanks for each of the almost 16 years she spent with us.
She died while we were grappling with a difficult challenge, and it seemed like such an unfair addition to an already heartbreaking time. Even in the midst of those circumstances, God reminded me that I could trust Him to provide what I needed, even the joy that I desperately needed. Here are three ways you can find your joy in Christ.
The joy of the Lord is our strength.
In Nehemiah 8, the people of Israel had heard the law of the Lord, which they had not been keeping. They were heartbroken and crying. Yet it was a holy day of the Lord, and it was not the time to be mourning. In Nehemiah 8:10c ESV, they were told, “And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Even though it was right and understandable that they were sad, God did not want them to grieve at this time He had called them to rejoice. Does this mean that we should never mourn or be sad? Of course not! But God can give us the joy we need and the strength we need through His own joy!
God gives joy to the righteous.
As we follow Christ, He does give us joy. “Light is sown for the righteous, and joy for the upright in heart. Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous, and give thanks to his holy name!” Psalm 97:11-12 ESV I find that as I draw closer to Christ, spending time with Him through prayer and His Word, that I am much more likely to receive joy from Him. It doesn’t mean that circumstances improve. But God provides the joy that I need. Jeremiah 15:16 ESV adds, “Your words were found, and I ate them, and your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart, for I am called by your name, O Lord, God of hosts.”
We are given joy through the Holy Spirit.
One of the fruits of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22-23 is joy! As Christians, we have received the Holy Spirit. As we let God work in our lives, we grow in these fruits, including joy. We also read in Romans 15:13 ESV, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”
Trusting God to provide joy even in difficult circumstances will grow our faith. We can rest in Him to sustain us and give us what we need to get through the challenges that come our way. Instead of turning to things that will ultimately disappoint you, look to Him and find your joy in Christ.