Learning to Choose Joy

This is the day the LORD has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24

Monday was a weird day. It all started with joy—not the state of being, just the chapter. That is, chapter 4 from John Ortberg's book, The Life You've Always Wanted. Reading this chapter on joy actually made me want to cry. No, I'm not in p.m.s.

As a believer for most of my life, with true joy moments few and far between, this topic is a real struggle for me. Why? I've realized that, having grown up in a joyless environment, joylessness is "normal" for me. I do often feel guilty for not being joyful, yet at the same time powerless to do anything about it. I mean, isn't joy something God is supposed to GIVE me? But now in chapter 4, John is saying joy is a choice and a discipline. Huh? Who ever thought of joy as choice—or especially a discipline? Gratitude, yes. Positive attitude, check. Joy, not.

So onto the weird part of the day, Monday. After reading this chapter and feeling sort of empowered to choose joy,  that night I was invited to the home of a Messianic Jew to celebrate Passover. I've never celebrated Passover before, and with all the symbolism I've been learning from Exodus and Jesus' death about how Passover was a prophecy of Jesus' death about 1,500 years before He died—on Passover, no less—it was extraordinarily wonderful.

But the most amazing thing is that God showed up that nightwith JOY. Throughout the Passover meal, there are 4 cups and prayers of blessing. The second cup is JOY. Many of the prayers revolved around joy, especially the one based on the beautiful scripture, "those who plant in tears will reap in songs of joy." At least 5 times the word joy cropped up in a prayer or blessing! It was like a warm hug from Jesus, reassuring me that joy is mine to be had.

So like I said, Monday was a weird day. It started with a little lesson on joy, and finished with a vivid experience in His radiant JOY. From now on, I think I'll start doing my best to learn and choose joy.

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Posted in categories: Amazing God | Enlarging Faith