Does the phrase “finding joy” confuse you? Did you even know that finding joy was a thing? It’s one of the many gifts that God has given us, but unfortunately, the other side of joy tends to get in the way.
The great philosopher Frankie Beverly once said that joy and pain is like sunshine and rain. Joy isn’t any greater than pain, and they both rely on each other for existence. Of course, there are plenty of times when it seems like the pains of life outweigh the joys, but that’s because we tend to weigh pain heavier because of the consequences that come with pain, when in fact, they both weigh the same.
For instance. If you were to hold your hand over a fire, the pain you feel would be excruciating and possibly leave a blister, right? But after you removed your hand you felt relief and happiness that the burning stopped. Unfortunately, that joy of relief is not what sticks in your mind. The most memorable feeling is what left the blister or scar, not the joyful feeling of relief after the pain has gone.
In this scenario, both feelings are the result of an action taken. (Let me be clear, this is not always the case, but for this example it is.) The pain came from the fire, but in order for you to feel relief, you have to move your hand away. Simple, right? On the surface, yes it is, but many times it’s not that simple.
Mary’s Joy and Pain
That’s what Mary and Joseph were going through before Jesus was born. There was the pain of Mary’s treatment as a result of her pregnancy. Then there were Joseph’s original feelings of betrayal, followed by their requirement to move just before the baby was due. And of course the circumstances of the birth itself. All very tough times.
But on the other hand, Mary and Joseph found ways to seek out joy. Mary prayed and asked God for help and He spoke to Joseph in a dream, and when she was upset she visited with Elizabeth and strengthened their bond through their pregnancies. And although on the surface it seems the situation around Jesus’s birth was harsh, it’s the greatest birthing story of all time that has brought the entire world peace and joy.
Finding joy can seem elusive, but in every situation, there is a joy to be found if you intentionally look for it. It may be easy to see, like removing your hand from the fire, or it may be harder to find, like 3 wise men wandering around following a star looking for a newborn baby. No matter how tough things are, if you search for your joy, you’ll find it. The harder you search, the greater your Joy!
This month we’re taking a trip throughout the Bible and learning about different ways that people found Joy. We’ll learn from Jesus, Isaiah, Mary and Joseph, even John in Revelation. Joy and pain have always been and always will be a part of life. I pray that this month something you read will inspire you to find your own joy through God’s love and His son Jesus Christ.
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