A Child of Joy

by Mindy Kiker

I was depressed. Trapped by hopelessness and despair, I could see no way out. My guilt intensified because a baby was growing within my body, a tiny person trapped inside, feeling my every emotion, floating in a noxious bath of misery.

Why did you send this baby to me, God, only for me to taint before he is even born?

I still talked to the Lord, but my mind rejected genuine prayer. I scorned the Word. My heart despised the church. My mouth refused to sing. Once beloved spiritual practices had vanished. What was I to do?

Startled by the phone, I answered in my false cheerful voice, surprised to find my mom’s good friend who has prayed for me since I was a little girl. She rarely phones me, but when she does, I know it is important.

“Hi Honey, the Lord gave me a word for you. He said that the baby in your womb will be a child of joy. This child will know the delight of His presence. Holy Spirit gave me Psalm 16:11, ‘. . .  you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal promises at your right hand.’ He has done this for this baby. It is His delight to give good gifts to His children.”

Salty tears stung my cheeks as I mumbled my thanks. For the first time, a tiny glimmer of joy stirred faintly in my heart.

God is the Provider, not me.

God is the Savior, not me.

God is able when I am not.

In fact, God’s strength is revealed in all its glory when I am weak.

I needed an urgent infusion of joy. The faint flicker of hope that stirred deep below the surface hinted at the possibility of change, but it was hardly enough to light a cheery flame.

Perhaps you find yourself in a similar season. You may not be depressed, but do you struggle with other anti-joy conditions like busyness, fear, laziness, hurt, unbelief, shame, or bitterness? Have you identified the condition of heart that resists joy in your life?

This is your chance. Take a moment and ask God to name your nemesis.

When you identify your personal stumbling block to joy, give it up to God with a simple prayer, “Father, I want this condition removed from my life so that joy can thrive. This is my desire.”

God’s Word encourages us that nothing is too difficult for Jehovah Jireh, our Provider. He longs to shower us with every good gift.  His blessings are not hidden away, reserved only for those who are good enough to deserve them, but rather His blessings reach out and rush to overtake us.

As hard as we try, we cannot be good enough to deserve joy — it is a gift from the Lord, made freely available by Jesus’ sacrifice.  In the Psalms, David encourages us that God longs to meet us with blessings from His hand, “Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4 (ESV)

What a relief to know that the desires of our hearts are not acquired by working harder. All we have to do is enjoy God? That sounds so simple.

Just like the Lord provided for that little baby in my womb, and gradually rescued me from depression, He cares for you. He will never leave you nor forsake you. No matter how far you feel from His presence, in a single moment He can gather you up in His arms and comfort you in your distress. He desires to show you unmerited favor. Receive. It is yours. May you become His child of joy.

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