Yesterday, I wrote about how God is our hiding place during times of difficulty. He provides the refuge and deliverance we desperately seek when all the world seems against us. And even more amazing, God wants us to experience the full measure of His joy.
He doesn’t want us to experience a drop of joy, or a cupful of it. He wants us to experience the FULL measure of His joy! Can you imagine it?
God sent His Son to earth to live among us, teach us, die for us, and rise again. This wasn’t an easy thing to do, but He loves us so. He didn’t need to rescue us from our sins, but He did. Why? So we could experience His joy. And in this, He shows His love for us.
“”I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them.. John 17:13 NIV
The past few years, God has taken me on a journey. When I first arrived in South Africa three years ago, I didn’t see much joy. I saw loneliness, hunger, bucket baths, and long walks through the desert sand. I saw harsh living conditions and even harsher futures for the children I worked with. It broke me.
But then He started to show me how to find joy amid all of that. Defying logic, I began to see many little blessings and experience little drops of His joy. And what a beautiful thing. His joy changes hearts, friends.
I can personally attest to that. As I began to experience His joy, I began to see things differently. The loneliness and bucket baths became easier to deal with, and the desert landscape became a place of true beauty. And rather than being overcome from the hunger that surrounded me, I began to walk alongside the villagers and find ways to help them feed themselves better. I saw them not just as people living in poverty, but as people with a vibrant culture and a love for life.
And that’s just after experiencing a little bit of His joy.
He wants us to have His joy, but it isn’t easy. We have to commit to following His each day, and to seeking out His blessings. We have to be willing to receive His joy. That seems like a “duh” statement, but I know there have been times when I haven’t been willing to receive His joy. When I wanted to wallow in my self-pity and sadness, bring down those around me.
Friends, we need to stop that. That isn’t what God wants for us. He dearly wants us to be full of joy. Are we willing to allow it?
Your turn: Was there a time when you weren’t willing to receive His joy?
Today I’m linking up with Holly Barrett for Testimony Tuesday, where we write a little to share what God has done for us. Come join in the fun at her place!