When I first accepted God’s saving grace, I was overwhelmed by unutterable joy. It was like falling in love, the kind where you can’t wipe that silly grin off your face, even if you wanted to, which of course you don’t. The kind where the grin returns every time you think of the beloved.
I still get it sometimes. Why not as much?
Joy is one of the fruits of the Spirit, it is freely available, everyone who knows God should be filled with joy. So why are so many Christians miserable?
I can’t answer for them. I can’t even answer for me!
I suppose there are always times when things seem hard, when God seems distant, when life throws distractions. I have been very stressed lately, for over a year, for a variety of reasons. It would have been harder to get through without God. But the joy has been elusive.
One problem with the analogy to falling in love is that usually that euphoria wears off; I suppose most people expect it to. With God it doesn’t have to and it is supposed to grow, not wear off!
I am hopeful that this time off that I have (praise the Lord, I am certain I need it and should probably have taken it sooner, but it is hard to judge and sometimes I need to be whacked round the head with something…) will not just be a time to recover, but a time when I can spend some time with God and rediscover the joy.
I think we often don’t feel we deserve joy. Oh sure, we reckon we deserve to enjoy ourselves sometimes, to have fun, maybe even to be happy. But not all the time! (Not the English anyway, we aren’t brought up with the American dream of pursuing happiness…) And not when times are hard.
When things are tough, we have to endure, we need discipline.
Not untrue, but God’s ideal for us is that we can have joy in Him in any circumstances. Even real persecution. So it is so wrong to just accept the lack of joy as being only natural when you’re under pressure.
Joy and happiness are not the same thing anyway.
Of course, I shouldn’t feel I need to time to re-find joy. I only have to ask for it.
So I did, just now, and now I am writing this post with a smile. It keeps wearing off, so I keep asking for more, and getting it. I think it is not a problem if I have to ask for it every moment, as God wants us to pray constantly.
I am tired though. Maybe it will last longer tomorrow!