Oh Joy ... Where are You?
And yet, in the midst of life, we are promised joy. That His joy will be our strength. To me that's one of those things that I get the faintest glimmer of when I squint my eyes up really tight and stare at one spot for a long time ... but any movement and I lose my focus on what that really means. (Does that make sense?) :)
The women's study that I attend has started a year long walk through the book of Isaiah. Heady stuff, my friends. I have been plugging along, slowly and steadily, and in my lesson this week I learned something ... one of the themes of Isaiah is JOY. While much of the book is Isaiah's prophecy of the coming judgment of Judah and the nation of Israel, he also promises them a coming Messiah and, oh, the joy of that thought!
Will see a great light;
Those who live in a dark land,
The light will shine on them.
You shall multiply the nation,
You shall increase their gladness;
They will be glad in Your presence
As with the gladness of harvest,
As men rejoice when they divide the spoil.
The Bible Knowledge Commentary points out that "the light will increase their joy like the joy at harvesttime or the joy of winning a battle and dividing the plunder. 'Joy' is another emphasis of Isaiah’s, mentioned more than two dozen times in the book. This will be a supernatural work of God much like the nation’s deliverance when Gideon defeated Midian. It will be like taking a burden off one’s back."
Did you see what I see? It is a supernatural work of God. What if this theme or goal that I've chosen is nothing that *I* can attain, but only by striving onward toward Christ (like a soldier following his general to battle) can I find His joy? He will increase their gladness ... not them. It's not something that I can conjure from within myself. It is borne out of a life cultivated by Christ. One that is actively striving after Him, pursing Him, reading of Him, talking to Him. Then HE will provide and sustain me with joy.