“Praise the Lord. How good it is to sing praises to our God, how pleasant and fitting to praise Him!”
- Psalm 147:1
There are certain items that seemingly always get misplaced or hidden from plain sight. Losing car keys, sunglasses, the television remote, and a pair of matching socks can become a weekly occurrence. I feel like Dora the Explorer, on a quest to reclaim that which was lost.
As we have entered November, a month that focuses us on gratitude and being thankful, I wonder how many people have LOST JOY. In a season that should have us giving thanks and counting our blessings, some are seriously lacking joy, hope, and even a zeal for life. Many factors contribute to our joy being robbed: How a person treats us; a prayer going unanswered; a desire being unfulfilled; a struggle in our body, mind, or with our finances; a loved one suffering; a sense of feeling all alone. We are easily weighed down in seasons of waiting, wandering, and worrying. Here is what Jesus said about how life steals from us in Matthew 13:22 in the parable of the sower, “The seed falling among thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful.” We need to guard against our joy to be suffocated, where it was meant to emanate from our hearts and be shouted from the rooftops!
The other day as I greeted someone coming to church, they were delighted to see me looking happy and carefree. They mentioned that recently I had seemed to be carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders. I immediately felt the Holy Spirit convicting me for allowing my workload to keep me from living at His desired dimension of peace and joy. Rather than being weighed down by the responsibility of preaching God’s Word, I need to count it a joy that He has counted me worthy to share the Good News. Rather than getting worked up when things go wrong, I need to be thankful for God’s grace covering those areas. Rather than bemoaning the lack of help at times, I need to celebrate the blessings of so many amazing people who serve and contribute to this wonderful church family. One of the ways I am reclaiming my joy is by turning my WORK into WORSHIP! Psalm 126:5-6 declares, “Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy. Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them."
One of my favorite promises from Jesus is found in John 15:11, “I have told you this so that My joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” When we walk with Jesus and heed His words there is a joy that always remains and never runs dry. If you have lost joy, Jesus is the one to look to and go to. We can rejoice in being saved from sin, in being called a child of God, and being prepared for heaven. Take a moment after reading this article to pray about areas where your joy needs to be reclaimed. Make the entire month a time to celebrate God’s love and faithfulness in your life. Do not hold back your praise, because He has not held back His promises!
Give God thanks for the people in your life.
Give God thanks for the job you have and the place you live.
Give God thanks for mercy and strength that sustains you during times of great struggle.
Give God thanks for His answers to your prayers and His plans for your life.