Each morning my daily devotional from Streaming Faith comes to my inbox. Yesterday’s devotional was right on time, and one I wanted to share with you all. The premise of the devotional is that we must find joy even during the hard times; we can’t allow our circumstances to dictate our mood. When you have faith and believe in God’s promises you should find joy in all situations.
The author of the devotional, Alan Riley, explains it best:
I think the problem is that we’ve confused joy with happiness. Happiness is dependent on happenings. Circumstances in your life dictate whether or not you are happy. Joy, on the other hand is a gift from God – a fruit of the Spirit that transcends whatever is happening in your life. Joy allows you to rise —even to soar— above difficult circumstances, challenges, and heartaches. Joy comes from knowing Who is in control and that He has a plan to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11) We do not draw our strength from the great feeling we get when things go right; if we did, we would be powerless when hard times and adversity hit, and we would all be easy pickings for the devil. No, it is the joy of the Lord that is our strength!
Jesus wasn’t happy about going to the cross. He prayed the night before “If there is any other way, let this cup pass from me…” But He did have joy in obedience. The writer to the Hebrews put it this way: “Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross…” There was joy for the Lord Jesus even in the pain and the agony of the cross because He knew the end result of His obedience and sacrifice would be the offer of salvation for you and me. Jesus chose to go through hell for us rather than to go to heaven without us.
In the book of Philippians, the Apostle Paul talks about joy over and over again. Yet he wrote that letter to the church at Philippi while he was imprisoned in horrible conditions. How could he write about joy while imprisoned in a dark, cold, rat-infested Roman cell? It’s because joy is not dependent on circumstances!