Some time last year, I was chatting with a woman from my church. She had said to me, “I don’t know you well. And, forgive me if I’m wrong, but I saw you the other day, and it seemed by your face that there’s just something heavy on your heart.” She really took a risk by saying that. Like she said, we didn’t know each other well, and I could’ve just given her a canned “Everything is fine” answer and avoided crossing her path in the future. But, in her words, she was attempting to reach out when my facial expression that she had noticed before probably said, “Please leave me alone.” I praise God that this sister in The Lord was willing to step out of her comfort zone in order to be used by Him.
This conversation got me thinking. What do I look like when I’m out and about, doing what I usually do? Do I look sad? Mad? Distressed? What does my countenance say to the outside world? Moreover, what does my countenance say about the state of my heart? Is the external an accurate reflection of the internal?
I have to admit that at the time that this woman approached me, I was going through a great deal of inner turmoil. In other words, I had no joy.
What is joy? It is not merely a giggly, happy, smiley demeanor. Although true joy can result in these outward manifestations, it must be rooted in something far deeper.
“You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”
According to this verse, complete and perfect joy is found in The Lord. There was my answer. Joy had seemed out of my reach because I was not spending time with my Lord.
Even though I was reading the Word and teaching the Bible to my kids, serving in my church and praying for others, meeting with other women and offering biblical counsel . . . even though I was doing all these spiritual activities, I know I was not in the presence of my God. I know because when trials came, I was in despair. I know because when conflicts arose, I responded in my flesh. I know because I had no joy.
Do you have true joy today? Are you busy with “church” but feel far from the Head of the church? He has invited you. He has torn the veil in two so that you may boldly enter in. Come and approach the throne of grace, where joy and pleasures have no end.
(Photo credit: Jennifer Gaillard)