I have had the priviledge of meeting Pastor Kevin Swanson (and his family) of Reformation Church in Castle Rock, CO. His family joined a couple of other families for fellowship at the place we are staying. I have also had the priviledge of getting to know
his extended family through this blog.
As we were talking about my journey over the past couple of months he asked a wonderful question of me. "Where do you find your joy in the morning?"
There was no hesitation in my answer. Joy is a gift. I can not conjur up the joy of the Lord. It is as much a gift as faith. The faith of salvation is a gift that can not be produced by any ability that we think we might have. Faith that sustains us is also a gift given when we call upon the Lord and when we need it the most. Grace is also a free gift given in the moment. Not before we need it or after but right on time.
Joy is the same. I don't ask for it. In my human strength I would barely think I need it. But, it is there waiting for me every morning as I face a new day walking into the path
the Lord has led me down.
Ah, but there is the key! I realized after giving my answer that I had missed one of the most important steps to receiving joy every morning. It is walking into the pain. Walking down the path that God has destined for me. Taking the step forward into the dark wilderness that He is leading me through.
As with many of God's gifts we receive them because we are "Slaves to Righteousness". Romans 6:15-23 states that as I am no longer a slave to sin I am free to obey. I am obeying God's leading down this path which in turn is giving me the ability to "Rejoice in the Lord always".
How can I receive such a marvolous gift as joy if I have not walked a hard path? If I stay stagnant in the mire of despair how would I see the reward of joy? Joy is that elusive spiritual quality that we have so wrongfully described as happiness. It is not some warm feeling brought on by a cherished memory. That seems more like happiness to me. But, joy is taking pleasure or delight in the gift of that memory. Joy is rejoicing in the One who gave you that memory. I don't take pleasure or delight in the path that I am on. I am not even very happy about it but I do take pleasure and delight in the One who is leading me down this path. I rejoice as I see Him guide my footsteps and provide for my every need.