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Are You Living in Joy or Distress?
Friend, are you in joy or distress?
It is no secret the past year has been a time of distress for most of us.
To be clear, I am not suggesting the distress is all due to politics or controversial topics. Honestly, I feel the hard and heaviness is primarily the result of uncertainty and disappointment over so many things in life.
Perhaps we, as Christians, have allowed distress to steal away our joy.
“But as for me, your strength shall be my song of JOY. At each and every sunrise, my lyrics of your love will fill the air! For you have been my glory-fortress, a stronghold in my day of distress.” Psalm 59.16 (TPT)
The fifty-ninth Psalm is one attributed to David as he was being stalked by King Saul, who was out to kill him. The heat was on, and David literally fled the city in the dark of night. Talk about circumstances of overwhelming distress.
David’s declaration should be of great encouragement to anyone searching for joy in times of distress.
When we speak of joy, we are talking about something other than happiness. It is important we recognize the difference. The following quote says it well.
“Joy is a state of being, and it differs from happiness, which may come and go. Happiness is usually measured by our circumstances, whereas joy is measured by what we have been given.”¹ Liz Auld
We live in a world that encourages happiness over joy. At an early age, we learn to allow our circumstances to dictate our response—to most everything. Is it possible this could be somehow related to the rising mental health issues in our society?
It seems the quest for happiness has become the primary objective of living. One problem with this goal is we are ill prepared to handle life when things do not go as planned—when happiness is nowhere to be found.
Notice David declared the Lord to be his stronghold in his time of distress. Who are you turning to in troublesome times?
As children of God, we are not meant to live by the world’s standards or objectives. Remember, we are only temporary residents, here. Our salvation certifies our permanent residence in heaven, with the Lord—the One who grants relief from the distresses of this life.
We find our joy in the Lord.
The prophet Zephaniah wrote, “The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you [and] will rejoice [joy] over you with singing (3.17 NIV).” The Lord not only gives us a song to sing—He rejoices over us with His song. Take heart, dear one, for He joys over you with singing!
Psalm 126.5 tells us, “Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy…” (NIV). In your time of distress, if you stay faithful to God, He will be faithful to give you a song of joy that only you can sing!
Friend, the Lord sings over you, and gives you a joyful song—but that is not all. He will put a shout of joy in your mouth.
“Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, you righteous ones; And shout for joy, all you who are upright in heart.” Psalm 32.11 (NASB)
Hallelujah! Not only can you learn to sing songs in the night. This joy in the Lord can give you reason to shout, even in the darkest moments of distress.
¹https://www.crosswalk.com/faith/bible-study/40-beautiful-bible-verses-about-joy.html. February 24, 2021. Quote by Liz Auld, managing editor.