Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy. 1 Peter 1:8, NIV
"I feel joy!"
My friend Nicole was radiating, her outward smile hinted at the magnitude of gratitude she felt on the inside. Although the calendar didn't show any significance - it was an ordinary weekday without any milestone or celebration - her heart overflowed. I knew she felt happy to be back in the States after a year on the mission field, and I wondered at first if that's where her positive vibes came from.
But, her emotion was coming from an even deeper place - a place unaffected by situations and surroundings. While both away and at home, I knew she'd had encounters with God that helped her face anxiety and fear. She'd experienced a transformation of the heart that pushed out darkness and let in light. The source of her joy was clear.
The Gospel of Jesus is called "good news" because it says hang on tight through suffering (and the anger and sadness it brings). Pain, loss, grief and fear don't get the final word - life and light do. This guaranteed victory comes from Jesus, He is the source of Nicole's - and our - constant joy. As we strive and search for a source of happiness, may we see there's only one, never-ending place to turn. The source of joy has a name - it's Jesus.
Prayer: Jesus, help me experience joy - it's an emotion I can't conjure up myself. I want to overflow with the freedom, happiness and hope. Help me see where I'm not turning to you, and trusting you, to be my source of joy.