My intent was to post a beautiful encouraging devotional about joy. I had it all eloquently written. The message was wrapped around symbolism comparing two candy bars, a Mound bar and an Almond Joy bar. The gist… the analogy was the almond being joy in the center of all the gooey and darkness surrounding it. The gooey substance (our mess) was the creamy coconut filling and the darkness was the chocolate that covered it. Basically, the almond is the firm center beneath the surface, and a stand alone, with or without the stuff. The Almond Joy bar cannot even exist without the almond. As with our Christian journey, it cannot exist without JOY! Without the almond (joy), our live’s would be just like that Mound bar, simply a gooey mess covered in darkness. Jesus is our joy and without Him as Lord and remembering Him being our Savior, our lives will be ‘all that’ without Joy. Jesus is the center of our lives and the Center of our Joy!
Your question… what happened? Life happened, I did not feel like I was in a joyous place! Life has it’s twist and turns. James 1:2-4 reminds me to count it all joy when I fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of my faith produces patience, and patience must have its perfect work, so that I will be perfect(mature) and complete, lacking nothing. I went to bed frustrated, prayed…slept, woke up frustrated, prayed, spent time in Numbers 25:1-13. Well, guess what? Yes… still frustrated. But there is more, I can add joy to my frustration. Joy is not a feeling, it is my position.
The situation that is causing my frustration has not changed, but I know God in His time will change me and my response toward the situation. I do not have a warm and tingly happy feeling about it. It is going to be a struggle to work through the frustration from yesterday. I left the situation at the Lord’s feet, hoping not to go pick it back up and carry it. However, the feelings associated with it is like an ache that has to wear off and be massaged out. The Holy Spirit is my masseuse.
We cannot operate in joy & peace by allowing our feelings to guide us or dictate negative responses. I recognize that the situation is frustrating and that I will have to operate in love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, Gal. 5:22-23, to experience joy and not just have the head knowledge of knowing it exists for all believers in Christ. I want to experience all that God has for me. SO, yes I am still frustrated, but I have joy in the midst. I choose the Almond Joy bar and will pass on the Mound bar. I do not want to experience the mess and dark days without the Joy, after all James says, “when we face or fall into trails and various temptations“. That day will come, but joy is center and beneath the surface. Take a bite!
Heavenly Father, thank you for the trials and temptations that accompany life. We thank you that you have worked them into our journey for good and your glory. We thank you that joy is ours and it cannot be taken even when we face challenges. We thank you that you do not condemn us for feelings, but you guide us through them. Thank you for being with us in all things, even the disappointing ones. You are faithful! Your mercies are new every morning and in them we are not consumed! GREAT is your faithfulness!! Amen!
I believe I will run on… enjoy your blessed day!
the journey flows…