I had fun starting this blog today. I veered beyond the world of texting and calling, and used another feature on my phone, Voice Recorder! I found great joy when I went back to the recorded file, clicked the little red button and I heard myself speaking. JOY – technology worked and my ideas were safely retrieved from the vault in my Samsung.
Joy, or specifically the Lord’s joy has been on my mind. I am currently facilitating one of Beth Moore’s Bible studies and one of the questions to consider was “Do you embrace or struggle with the fact that our God is filled with joy?” The question followed a reference to John 15:11 where Jesus said, “I have spoken these things to you so that My joy may be in you and your joy may be complete.”
I was leading the discussion, it was after a long work day, and I felt stumped. I wanted to enthusiastically say “Yes! I embrace it! I clearly picture the Lord with joy.”
But it wasn’t the answer that came to mind. I didn’t feel His joy at that moment. When I thought of God, images of purpose, mission and possibly even sternness came to mind.
In my busyness, joy sometimes seems too frivolous. How could God have joy? I know my heart. I know my sins. I read the paper. Yeah, clearly I was struggling with the fact that God is filled with joy. As the facilitator, I left feeling like I had missed an opportunity, and personally, I know from scripture that that “the joy of the Lord is my strength.” But I didn’t feel equipped to champion the point.
Another thing that struck me from the Bible study was a comment that Beth Moore made in the recorded part of the session. “Independence is a sign of immaturity in the body.” It was time I phoned a friend for another view.
So I called my wise mother.
I loved her input to the topic. I asked her the question without sharing my perspective. I knew I wasn’t understanding this part of God’s character and I needed a fresh view.
I heard joy in her voice when she responded; she was embracing the fact that God is filled with joy – no struggle there. Where was she during my Bible study session? She shared that she especially feels His joy after she has spent time with Him in prayer.
Yep. That was it. We feel His joy when we are with Him.
And His joy was evident. He was glad that I made the connection. Her testimony brought to memory lots of times I have felt His joy in His presence. Or moments I have felt His joy when certain worship songs come on. Even the other night when I was listening to Jared Anderson’s song “I Am Free” I felt it. I believe God has great joy at the broken chains of His children.
Look at Isaiah 58:6-9 in the Message Bible.
“This is the kind of fast day I’m after:
to break the chains of injustice,
get rid of exploitation in the workplace,
free the oppressed,
What I’m interested in seeing you do is:
sharing your food with the hungry,
inviting the homeless poor into your homes,
putting clothes on the shivering ill-clad,
being available to your own families.
Do this and the lights will turn on,
and your lives will turn around at once.
Your righteousness will pave your way.
The God of glory will secure your passage.
Then when you pray, God will answer.
You’ll call out for help and I’ll say, ‘Here I am.’
Of course that brings Him joy. I feel it.
May you feel His joy today,