Any time we base our happiness on circumstances and/or relationships, we set ourselves up for disappointment, even devastation. I know from personal experience, how quickly situations change that can steal my joy, if I am depending on imperfect people (including myself) to make me happy. I’ve seen how quickly things can happen to change a sunny Sunday afternoon into the darkest day of my life.
But there is something deeper than happiness, something surer than circumstances, something more lasting than even the best and purest marriages and friendships. Listen to what the prophet Habakkuk says:
Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the Lord! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation! (verses 17-18)
Even when I don’t “feel” happy, I can rejoice in the fact my sins are forgiven at the cross of Jesus. Even when people fail me, or life gets hard, I have joy knowing God is my Heavenly Father who sustains me, embraces me, loves me, and strengthens me.
You see, joy is a fruit of the Spirit, something that supernaturally defines those in whom the Spirit dwells! It has nothing to do with whether or not I get that promotion at work, or if my children are obedient, or if I’m surrounded by friends. This joy is a result of my relationship with God, my Savior. It’s joy non-believers can’t understand or experience.
May we who have received God’s grace through the blood of Jesus rejoice in the Lord, separating that joy from our circumstances. May we accept the joy that come from knowing God who has saved us.
Paul, in his letter to the Philippians, said the following. I’d like to say the same to all of us today:
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! (Philippians 4:4)