"Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls." 1 Peter 1:8-9
I had a strange dream last night. I don't remember a lot of details, but I do remember that I was with my church family. We were all together- and not just our normal Sunday morning church family, but our extended church family- people who visit once or twice, or come for conferences. We were all together, and we were marching together, as if coming home from a war. We were happy and joyful and thrilling in our fellowship with each other, actually. And then there suddenly was enemy soldiers intermingled with us. We wanted to be rid of them, so we marched over to the church doors and threw them open. The praise and worship going on from the inside sent them away immediately. After that, it was one joyous party as we celebrated our togetherness, and our God. We were so joyful, people were doing flips and cartwheels, and running up and down the aisles.
That's what I remember upon waking the most. I remember the joy. The inexpressible joy that made me want to start doing flips and cartwheels. Joy that felt that if I didn't let it out, it was going to burst inside of me, and I needed to let it out. I have felt that joy before- the glorious joy that comes only from the Father in Heaven. I confess that I've been experiencing joy often in these past few weeks. Every day as I walk through my house, I am filled with joy, and I just cannot stop thanking God for bringing my family here. Even this past Sunday, this past Mother's Day, we had a church service unlike any we've had yet (and that says something!) and I left church practically giddy with joy. That giddiness- that inexpressible joy has been with me all week. Something that is funny just strikes me as beyond funny, and I can be found laughing hysterically at something that was only a little bit funny.
God gives me joy. He does! That's the only thing I can come up with.
"Then will I go to the altar of God, to God, my joy and my delight. I will praise you with the harp, O God, my God." Psalm 43:4
"Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart." Psalm 37:4
Let me tell you about delighting in the Lord. It's not some great big grand secret, it's as simple as finding joy in the things that He has created. And then thanking Him and praising Him for it. Over the last few weeks, as I've been outside working, I've been completely delighted by the birds in the yard. Yesterday as I worked pulling weeds a pair of cardinals sat in the trees above me and literally accompanied my work with singing. It made me giggle! And I thanked God for creating such a delightful bird, and putting them in my yard. As I walk past a flowering bush in the yard, every single time, I take a moment to bury my nose in the fragrant blossoms and marvel at the beauty that God created. I am delighting in God's creation- enjoying every second of it that I can, because I know the seasons are never-ending, and it won't be long before the heat of summer causes the blooms to cease.
And when I hear a story of God blessing a friend of mine, I express my great joy and my thanks to God. I rejoice with them, and I delight with them, and I thank Him over and over for blessing my friend in such a wonderful way. I have to confess that I live for those moments. I love hearing the stories of blessings- and I love seeing God work in the lives of those I love dearly. It literally fills my heart with more of that inexpressible joy!! Delighting in God is not the mystery that I once thought it was. It's simply opening up your heart and your mind to the wonders of God! It's rejoicing In Him! How can I not rejoice when every moment of every day I see evidence of His Goodness and His Love?
When I dwell on God's Goodness, I am almost instantly filled with joy.
"for the joy of the LORD is your strength." Nehemiah 8:10
The joy of the Lord is the strength we need to overcome any obstacles that we may encounter. Honestly though, when you are filled with the joy of the Lord all the time, those obstacles almost seem ridiculous. The devil tries to come at you with some crazy scheme, and it's the joy of the Lord that enables you to laugh at the devil and tell him to shove off. When HE is your focus, inexpressible joy will accompany.