You reveal the path of life to me; in your presence is abundant joy; in your right hand are eternal pleasures. –Psalm 16:11, HCSB
Joy…seems it’s been reduced to a Christmas ornament. If you add bright red paint and glitter to some wood letter cut outs, then you must really have joy. Or want it.
But joy? JOY? It isn’t seasonal. It doesn’t come out of a gift card store, doesn’t smell like evergreen boughs, and isn’t something the amazing Mr. Bing Crosby can sing into your heart. Joy isn’t a pleasure that melts in your mouth like a Dove chocolate bar, it doesn’t start with a key and purr like a kitten inside that new car sitting in the garage. Joy has deeper roots than stuff, runs with a stronger current than laughter, and lasts longer than a happy moment.
Joy is a gift, but it doesn’t leave the giver’s hand. Joy remains with Him, secure in His right hand.
So how do you get it?
“My sheep hear my voice. …No one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all. No one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. The Father and I are one.” John 10:27-30
I get it by living life in God’s hand. God holds joy. God holds me. So therefore, I have joy. That does not, however, mean I’m always happy. Tragedy, sin, frustration or just a plain old bad day can trample on my emotions. Joy is deeper than happiness. It is a sense of well-being, of knowing I am in God’s hand, of believing that no matter what assails me here, the there will be more than worth it.
I have a missionary friend who died of cancer this summer, leaving a widow just my age. My friend passed from this earth to heaven without ever leaving God’s hand. His widow, clearly nestled in God’s hand even in her grief, posted this on Facebook last week. The italics are a passage she quoted. The bold words are her own:
When we stand back to consider the premise – that God owes us a good life – it is clearly unwarranted. If there really is an infinitely glorious God, why should the universe revolve around us rather than around him? – Tim Keller But what underserved joy there is when our universe revolves around Him.