Have You Lost Your Joy?
I’ve walked many paths of sorrow in my search for joy. Growing up in a home where love was absent, I also desperately searched for love – both were elusive. When I met Jesus, I longed to please Him, so I worked hard to be worthy of His love. Childhood trauma conditioned me to strive; the harder I tried to earn His love, the further I plummeted. My hope shriveled and nearly died.
In His mercy, He waited until I made the will-choice to collapse helplessly into His arms. In my brokenness, Jesus introduced me to the Comforter, who tenderly consoled me. With great patience, He counseled me, walking with me through the depths of despair. He never accused me or forced me to do anything against my will, for He is a Gentleman.
Amid painful circumstances, I learned Love, Hope, and Joy are based on intimacy – not on circumstances or the whims of humanity.
Where Do You Find Joy?
This week, we lit the Advent candle of Joy, reminding us Jesus died for you and me to experience joy – no matter how dark our circumstances.
At the beginning of advent, we said Jesus is Hope!
The second week we saw Him as Love.
Jesus is also our Joy.
Jesus introduced me to the Comforter, who tenderly consoled me.
We Need a Comforter
One of my favorite verses in Scripture is:
To console those who mourn in Zion,
To give them beauty for ashes,
The oil of joy for mourning,
The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
That they may be called trees of righteousness,
The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.” Isaiah 61:3
Through dark, lonely days and years, I clung to these words spoken about the coming Messiah. The One who cared enough to bind up the brokenhearted, proclaim liberty, and open prison door of the captives.
This Beautiful One came to earth to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD. On Calvary, He experienced the vengeance of God; today, His Spirit comforts those who mourn.
His Spirit comforts those who mourn.
First Receive Love In Order to Find Joy
Pain happens. Painful things beyond your control. Do you walk with your head cast down? Is your heart broken? Do you feel as if you are clothed in mourning? Have you lost a loved one?
I have good news! You qualify for the Love beyond all loves of the One who is Love. Jesus cares about your pain! He wants to give you beauty and identity – a beautiful head covering in the place of ashes, failure and defeat. Will you accept His gift of love? He will not force Himself upon you.
The Holy Spirit wants to anoint you with oil. This word (Strong’s H8081) speaks of a yoke broken because of fatness – as a fat bull casts off and breaks its yoke of bondage! Perhaps you are held captive, wear a heavy yoke that constricts and causes pain. The Spirit will anoint you with the oil of Joy!
The Psalmist speaks of the Christ, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever. The scepter of your kingdom is a scepter of uprightness; you have loved righteousness and hated wickedness. Therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions” (Psa 45:6-7 ESV)
Jesus cares about your pain!
God Turns Sorrow into Joy
Think of this. Jesus died on Calvary to overcome sin, death, and evil of every kind. If you receive the Father’s gift, and Jesus dwells in your heart – as you allow Him, the Holy Spirit will anoint you with the oil of gladness.
The deeper your intimacy with Jesus, the more you will experience Him replacing the ragged garment of mourning and deep pain for the beautiful garment of praise. Under His protective care, you will be set free; your sorrow turned to Joy.
God wants you to embrace your grief, not suppress it or pretend it isn’t there. Freely speak your pain, weep your tears in His presence. As tears course down your cheeks, tears of betrayal and loss – in your sorrow – the Holy Spirit anoints you with the oil of joy. As the life of Jesus is released to flow in you, you will experience joy unspeakable and full of glory, especially in adversity.
The glorious truth is Jesus arrived on earth during a time of darkness and great oppression. Each person who opened his heart to Him, found Jesus exchanged their heavy heart for a heart of joy – receiving a song in the night, even a song of praise unto God.
God wants you to embrace your grief, not suppress it or pretend it isn’t there. In your sorrow, the Holy Spirit anoints you with the oil of joy.
Will you stop trying to fix things?
Invite Jesus to be LORD of the confusion and pain of your life, and rejoice in Him. When you do, you will experience the wonder that, “in His presence is fullness of joy; at His right hand are pleasures forevermore.” (Ps 30:11)