Seems simple to sing a little Bible song and and clap your hands when you're a kid with no cares in the world. But, then we grow up. LIFE happens. We experience challenges, failures, broken hearts, suffering, illness, and death. We lose some of that innocent happiness and joy. I can speak for myself and say that I haven't been full of joy over the years; I've struggled with negativity and years of depression.
You may ask: how am I supposed to be joyful in a world full of suffering and pain? Am I supposed to clap my hands when the bills come in the mail? How am I supposed to feel joyful about dealing with difficult coworkers or going to a job that I hate day after day? Should I sing when my heart hurts from a damaged relationship or when illness or death strikes a loved one?
WHAT???? The reason why you might have a problem with this answer is because we think we can only be happy when things are going OUR way. We often think we will be full of joy when circumstances are going the way WE planned them. Have you ever had thoughts similar to these?
- I will be happy when I get that next job I really want.
- I will be happy when I finish college.
- I will be happy when I get married.
- I will be happy when I move.
- I will be happy when I meet that guy or girl that is the ONE!
- I will be happy when I get that promotion.
Think back throughout your life. Moving on to the NEXT thing never made you truly joyful. It may have made you happy for a few moments, but most likely your problems followed you. Why? Because all of these things are temporary. All of these things are focused on ourselves--they are "me" focused.
Our ultimate purpose on this earth is to worship our heavenly Father! That is what JOY is really all about! Taking the focus off of ourselves and focusing on Him and his perfect attributes! Our God is our creator and has graciously given us everything that we have; without Him, we have nothing! Psalm 100 describes how the Lord's love endures forever! He is faithful. That alone is something to be joyful about. We should enter the Lord's presence with thanksgiving and praise.
Maybe we should go back to singing songs from Sunday School ... there's more to the simple songs than we think! Do you have the love of Jesus in your heart?
Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.