Last Christmas was one of the most difficult I can remember. The best way to describe it is with one word . . . LACK. There were a few things that were lacking, but the thing that affected me the most was a lack of joy. Thankfully, I had peace, but not joy. I cried a lot and had a hard time handling things as well as I normally do. It was very frustrating and disconcerting for me.
A week before Christmas, I decided enough was enough. I needed to spend some extended time with the Lord in an effort to get my joy back. On my dining room table I had 5 special candles – peace, joy, hope, love & cherish. I took my “peace” and “joy” candles from the table into my office with me and lit them, hoping that joy would find its way into my heart.
During this quiet time, I prayed, I read the Bible, I poured my heart out to the Lord in the pages of my journal. After I finished, I was feeling much better. As I was carrying my candles back to the table the “joy” candle slipped from my hands and smashed to pieces on the floor. That was the perfect illustration of how I felt – like the tiny piece of joy I had just received was smashed to pieces, never to be recovered. I cleaned it up with tears in my eyes and threw it in the trash. Was anything going to turn around and bring joy?
Little did I know that joy was already working its way into my heart. The extended time in God’s presence was filling me with joy, even though outward circumstances seemed to say otherwise.
Yet NOTHING can come against the promises of God’s Word!
Psalm 16:11 tells us “You will fill me with joy in Your presence, with eternal pleasures at Your right hand.” The time I spent with Jesus was restoring my joy, yet the enemy of my soul was trying to tell me my joy was broken and I would never get it back. I had a choice of who I was going to listen to – the truth of God or the lies of the enemy.
That moment was a turning point for me. God was so faithful. He began to restore my joy the very next day. One of our family traditions is to have a Christmas caroling party each year. That morning it began to snow and by the time of the party, we had 3-4 inches. It finally felt like Christmas. Our friends arrived and we walked around the neighborhood, making it a point to go sing to those we knew needed some joy: a woman with an extended illness, a family with a premature baby who were homebound during flu season (they went and got their baby out of bed so that she could hear us singing to her), an old man who lost his wife that year, he had tears in his eyes as he listened to us sing. It was truly a wonderful evening. At one point as we were walking down the road, I looked back and saw groups of 3-4 people walking with their candles glowing; it was such a picturesque sight, like something you would see in a movie.
I found what brings me joy is bringing joy to others. Joy began to overflow rather than be lacking.
Are you lacking joy this season? You can turn that around by:
- Spending time in God’s presence, through prayer, reading the Bible, worshipping God through song, etc… Don’t rush this time, spend as long as it takes to get filled up.
- Doing something to bring joy to someone else. No matter how bad things are for you, there is always someone who is worse off. How can you bring a bit of joy to someone else’s pain?
The promise of Psalm 16:11 is that God fills us with joy in His presence. To be filled means – to make full; put as much as can be held into: to occupy to the full capacity: to supply to an extreme degree or plentifully. As you spend time with Him, He will fill you with joy so that joy can brim over to fill someone else who needs it. Your joy may be broken, but it can be restored.
May God’s joy fill you to overflowing today!
Your Friend in Ministry,