“The wings of the ostrich flap joyfully, though they cannot compare with the wings and feathers of the stork” (Job 39:13)
When was the last time you felt joy? Perhaps it has been awhile. Despite what our dictionary tells us joy is quite different than happiness. Happiness comes and goes quickly, because it is based on our circumstances. Joy, however, is more of an underlying state of our soul. I like this explanation:
“Joy is setting the soul upon the top of a pinnacle; it is the cream of the sincere milk of the Word. Spiritual joy is a sweet and delightful passion, arising from the apprehension and feeling of some good, whereby the soul is supported under present troubles and fenced against future fear.” – Patti M. Hummel, Glorifying God
We feel happiness due to pleasure plus a lack of suffering. Joy, however, comes from the Lord. It’s about what we have been given–salvation, hope, protection and more. Since God never changes and His promises always stand, the source of our joy will never become absent, regardless of our circumstances.
Above we read how an ostrich flap his wings with joy, even though they do not compare to the wings of a stork. The ostrich lacks the ability to soar, but he still has joy. His reality is that he has everything he needs. Just as we do.
Since joy can exist despite the presence of pain, it can also occur simultaneously with many emotions or situations.
When Mary and and Mary Magdalene discovered Jesus’ empty tomb they “hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy and ran to tell His disciples (Matthew 28:8). Peter tells us that even though we cannot see God, we love Him and believe in Him and this fills us with “inexpressible and glorious joy (1 Peter 1:8-9).
When we say we are “choosing joy” what we are really choosing is to acknowledge God’s love, Jesus’ sacrifice. We are saying God’s gifts are more influential in our life than our momentary trials.
Prayer: I want to choose joy, Lord, but sometimes it is hard to find. The world tells me to watch a funny movie or be “mindful” of happy moments. This doesn’t compare to the joy You created, Lord! Help me discover more of You, to grow closer to You, and here I will find enduring joy. Amen.
About the author:
Lisa Copen is the founder of Rest Ministries and she lives in San Diego with her husband and son. She is currently working on a prayer book for those who are chronically ill and balancing motherhood and had foot surgery last week. Be encouraged by one of her books today! 100% proceeds go to Rest Ministries. Check out Why Can’t I Make People Understand? at the Rest Ministries shop.
When you hear (or say it yourself) “choosing joy” what comes to mind? How do you choose joy, claiming joy is more influential than your struggles?
When we are depleted of joy it is because we are looking for it in places other than the joy-source. This song is “Joy of the Lord” with Deitrick Haddon. Hoping it blesses you. -Lisa