Some time ago, I purchased a book by Kay Arthur called “Choose Joy (Because Happiness Isn’t Enough).” It was about having joy in the midst of any and all circumstances no matter what. Kay’s definition of joy is this: “Joy is the settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of my life, the quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be all right, and the determined choice to praise God in all things.”
I must admit that at the time I was reading the book, I was going through some very challenging things and I did not know how in the world to have joy in the midst of those things. I also confess that part of Joy’s definition of joy unnerved me a bit because there was a part of me that was afraid of the control that God had over my life, i.e., that He would allow untold misery to keep happening to me, and that things might ultimately be all right, but it might take a very long time and how was I supposed to be happy throughout that process? So, I struggled a bit with the book.
Then God very gently took my hand and showed me Who He is and the kind of plans that He has for my life and that all things work together for good for them that love Him. (Romans 8:28) I had been buying into the lies of the devil that said that God didn’t really care and that He enjoyed it when I suffered and that things were never going to work out for me. Once those lies were discovered, challenged, and vanquished by the Word of God and the work of the Holy Spirit in my life, my life began to change. My circumstances did not change, but my heart and my mind did and that was all I needed to root out the enemy and claim the joy that God has promised to all of His children. When I went bedridden, I discovered you can have joy. When I lost important things, I discovered that you can have joy. I am presently in tight financial situations which leaves me very limited in the things that I can do, but I can tell you that not only do I have joy, I have great peace about my life, too. (Although I am chomping a bit at the harness in my mouth, ready to go at full gallop, but the Lord has me at a trot right now for His purposes.)
I’ve learned that joy, just like love, is a choice and I can have it during any circumstance. I also learned that joy is my inheritance and birthright as a child of God.
“Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in Thy presencce is fulness of joy; at Thy right hand there ar pleasures for evermore.” (Psalms 16:11)
“Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.” (Isaiah 12:13)
“And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.” (Isaiah 35:10)
“Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.” (John 16:24)
“For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.” (Romans 14:17)
Joy is not only ours for the asking, it is ours, period, as children of God. And you can have it in the midst of any and every circumstance or trial that you may face or are facing. I encourage you to draw from that well of joy that the Lord has placed inside of you.
Here are some more good books that have helped in my journey towards freedom. I encourage you to get and read them all (or whichever ones strike your fancy, but these were tools that God used to set me free. Get them for yourself and watch God work in your life!):