By Michael Youssef, Ph.D.
For the child of God, joy does not mean the absence of sadness, trials or disappointment. In fact, in some cases it can mean the opposite. There can be joy amid sorrow. This was true of the apostle Paul's life. He faced being beaten, stoned, and imprisoned, yet he had a tremendous sense of joy.
During moments of great difficulty, we can experience the joy of the Lord in a far greater way than at any other time. For some, this may be hard to believe. Many times, when difficulty comes, we immediately look for a way out. A sudden trial leaves us feeling hopeless and wondering if we have done something wrong. But we must remember that adversity is a part of life.
When he wrote about joy, Paul was in prison. He knew how it felt to be discouraged and abandoned, but he also experienced a tremendous joy - one the Lord had given him. It is the same joy we can experience today.
Paul writes, "I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want" (Philippians 4:12).
Contentment for Paul was reflective of the deep sense of joy he felt within his heart. He had a promise from God - and we do, too. One day, like Paul, we will see the Savior face to face. Therefore, no matter what this world tosses at us, we can experience a true sense of joy right now.
Do you feel as though you have lost your joy? Or are you searching to regain it? The joy of the Lord is one of God's greatest gifts. Take a moment to be silent before Him. Worship Him and praise Him for His faithfulness to you and for His precious gift of joy.
Prayer: Father, restore my joy to overflowing that it may bubble up and infuse my life. May this overflowing joy be an example to others of Your love. Now, Lord, I sit before You in silence. Speak to me. I am listening. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
"[. . .] sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything" (2 Corinthians 6:10).