Sunday, September 09, 2007

On Joy

I'm using a book for my quiet time lately: Candles in the Dark, by Amy Carmichael. She had some good things to say yesterday.

"But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who love your salvation always say, 'Let God be exalted!'" Psalm 70:4

Carmichael uses this scripture and then writes: "That's not just a holy aspiration, it's a command...Joy is to be the keynote of our lives. He calls us then to make an act of faith every time we would naturally be pulled down into the pit of joylessness, for there is an end set to the sin and sorrow and confusion of the world as well as to our own private trials. We only see today. He whom we worship sees tomorrow."

Wow. I would not say that joy is the keynote of my life. But why not? After all God has shown me, why is it so hard to resist being "pulled down into the pit of joylessness" at times? I would really love to someday possess the wisdom Carmichael had and be able to write about God like she did.

This was a great reminder for me to obey God and be joyful. The more I focus on myself and my feelings, the harder that is - so I guess I'll be focusing more on God. Besides, wouldn't it be cool to be known as a joyful person?

Two reasons to be joyful. (And they're really cute reasons, too! Not necessarily clean, but cute.)


christy said...

i think that is a really good reminder....i often struggle with a moodiness that makes it hard to be joyful, and i do think that some of that is due to being too self absorbed at times.

however, i also believe that God is interested in our feelings, and that there can be a danger of feeling like verses about joy mean that it is sinful to feel sorrow. i think that its possible to have joy (that is, peace, contentment) in the midst of sorrow...not easy, but possible.

i am still trying to work out that difference between joy, which comes from God, and happiness, which is fleeting.

Monica said...

I really enjoyed your post Christy! I pray for that joy that surpasses understanding in our lives. That no matter what we face we will have a joy knowing He is for us and not against us to give us a future and a hope. The funny thing is I was praying this morning for joy.

Monica said...

By the way, the picture of the boys, is it under the escalator at Carrefour?

be_a_Mary said...

Yes, this is such a theme in my life right now, claiming joy. You little joysnatcher, you! :)

I think it is interesting to consider the difference between joy and happiness. There are loads of jolly people roaming about, that are cheerful and happy. But I think "joy" (sort of like Christy was saying) is more about the long-term vision, gratitude, recognition of who Jesus is in our lives (even during the tough times) is the key to joy. Now if only we can live it.

I do think Joy is cultivated, don't you? you learn to be more joyful. at the beginning it may take a while, but hopefully as it is cultivated through discipline and practice, it comes easier?? do you think??

joysnatcher said...

I hope it starts coming easier. I do think you (Christy and Karen) have a point. I wouldn't necessarily be "happy" if a loved one died, but I could still be "joyful", knowing that God has everything planned out and is in control of all circumstances.

Monica, yes, it was under the Carrefour escalators. Great fun.

harpmom said...

Dear Christy....

Amy Carmichael is amazing - here is a poem I memorized years ago that she wrote....

Amy Carmichael

From prayer that asks that I may be
Sheltered from winds that beat on Thee,
From fearing when I should aspire,
From faltering when I should climb higher,
From silken self, O Captain, free
Thy soldier who would follow Thee.

From subtle love of softening things,
From easy choices, weakenings,
(Not thus were spirits fortified,
Not this way went the Crucified)
From all that dims Thy Calvary,
O Lamb of God, deliver me.

Give me the love that leads the way,
The faith that nothing can dismay,
The hope no disappointments tire,
The passion that will burn like fire,
Let me not sink to be a clod:
Make me Thy fuel, Flame of God,

joysnatcher said...

Thanks Harpmom! What a great poem, with some good insight in it.

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