Choosing Joy

by Julie

I woke up before my alarm went off and clearly heard God tell me to read Psalm 118:24. I was a bit annoyed that he woke me before the alarm, so I tried to tell God that I had a few more minutes to sleep and would happily read that verse after my alarm went off. He persisted, so I reached for my Bible instead.

This is the day that the LORD has made let us rejoice and be glad in it.” How funny! God gave a scripture about rejoicing to my cranky, morning self. I just love His sense of humor. I instantly snapped out of cranky and into joyful and expectant for what the day would bring. What an encouraging start to the day.  Having joy made everything so pleasant, so fresh, and so new. That was a big light bulb moment.

Later, when some unexpected and difficult news came my way, I couldn’t help but smile through the tears. It was still the day that the Lord had made and those circumstances didn’t change that fact. I knew in that moment I was given the strategy to approach the situation ahead of time. You see, we not only have the option, but the privilege to respond in joy. How freeing. In 1 Thessalonians 5 we read that part of God’s will for us in Christ Jesus is to rejoice always.

I learned a few things that day: first, when God is telling us something, it’s best to just be obedient and listen. He has so many good things He wants to tell us. Second, when God speaks to us sometimes it’s to bring light to dark places. Joy was the light I needed in that particular season of my life. Finally, I learned how to approach each day and how to respond to any given situation. We should be waking up joyful because it is the day that the LORD has made. No matter the circumstance, we can find our joy in the Lord! In fact, in the New Living Translation of scripture James 1:2 tells us that even our troubles are opportunities for great joy.

My prayer is that  joy would be a major part of our lives. I pray we would  know and experience the joy that comes from being in relationship with such a wonderful Father. Even if the day doesn’t turn out like we planned, we get to choose joy. The truth is He is still good and we get to experience each day with Him-the source of all of our joy.

His joy is contagious and a sure sign of His work in our lives. Let’s live in a way that those around us would experience the joy of the Lord and choose it for themselves.