“Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” (Psalm 30:5)
When was the last time you woke with a song in your heart and a smile on your face? Singing the words of praise throughout the day? Has it been a while?
Pain has a way of stripping the joy right out of me. Most mornings when I wake up, I assess the level of pain in my body, the strength or weakness, the spasms, the fatigue. I mentally go over my day and try to come up with a plan of action.
Small doses of joy come to me throughout the day – mostly when I talk to my children; get a letter from a friend; or watch a funny movie. What frustrates me is the joy seems fleeting.
I have been praying that God would give me joy, even while I struggle with chronic illness and pain. I don’t want to be defined by what is wrong with my body. I want to live with hope and excitement because I trust in God (Psalm 42:5). I may not understand why I have to live in physical pain, but I believe that God is working everything in my life for good (Romans 8:28). On the mornings when I am surprised to wake with a joyful attitude, I whisper a prayer to God, “Thank You, Lord, for giving me joy (Psalm 28:6-8).”
I’ve learned to seek God for direction when I feel overwhelmed or sad and need Him to sustain me (Psalm 18:35, Psalm 51:12, Psalm 54:4). A lot of the time after praying, I come away with a desire to do something for someone else – pray for them, send a card, or make a call.
Because of my physical illness and the resulting limits, I’ve learned to savor small victories. Waking up cheerful shows me that I would have never learned to appreciate the joys in my life if I had never been to the depths of sorrow.
Father, we thank You for Your joy, which gives us strength (Nehemiah 8:9-11). Comfort our hearts as we trust You to lead us through the difficulties in life.
Questions for reflection:
What about you? What constantly robs you of your joy? In what ways, is God answering your prayer for more joy?