Hold on to Your JOY

Habakkuk did not receive the answer he was looking for. Things were not going to turn for the better right away. Yet he chose to rise above this and hold on to his joy.

“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!”

Habakkuk 3:17-18. NLT

This strong expression of faith is in the context of great uncertainty. He lists all of the sources of food and agricultural commerce of the ancient world (a bit like us saying today that there is no toilet paper, hand sanitiser or face masks in the shops!). There were many difficult questions that he still had unanswered. Habakkuk has every reason NOT to rejoice. But he does so anyway because of his faith in God and his hope for the future.

‘Happiness’ is based on circumstances. IF things happen to be going well, we are happy. If not, we are unhappy. In contrast, true JOY is not dependent on external circumstances. It comes from within and for people of faith, is based on their relationship with God. God’s joy can become our strength. When you’re going through a difficult time, ask whether it’s worth losing your joy over.

Make a choice to rejoice in God no matter what the circumstances are – even under terrible conditions. Here is what the apostle Paul once wrote during an extended, unplanned time in prison …

“Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice!”

Philippians 4:4. NLT

Joy is a gift from God – not something we need to work up or earn. Simply receive it. A deep, inner sense that everything will be alright. Think of Jesus – everything stripped away from him as he went to the cross … yet he had a deep inner JOY for what he could see ahead, on the other side. This is especially relevant for us at this EASTER time. Death does not have the last word. JOY does!

Who could you spread some joy to today? Who could you encourage? What or who are you thankful for? Show some kindness to people you interact with, even at the shop or on the street. As you practice social distancing, don’t become relationally distant.

Part 5 …

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