~ Grace Gift ~
Psalm 16:11 says, "Thou wilt show me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore."
My only expectations for this week are that the Lord will be in it, as always, and if I open my eyes and be attentive to His presence, He'll show me wonders anew.
Do you have fullness of joy? If not, ask yourself, Am I in His presence? Maybe you don't feel fullness of joy if you recently lost a loved one, suffered a broken relationship, or had your job terminated. This is normal. It is difficult to feel joy in the midst of a funeral, a divorce or a firing.
I have always had a problem relating to people who never seem to feel any emotion--who never laugh and never cry. Ecclesiastes 3:4 tell us there is "A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance..." This suggests that there is a legitimate time for sorrow and grief. It is just a time, not a lifetime. Be careful not to deny those who suffer a great loss an appropriate time to grieve. After all, God is the one who created us with emotions.
As believers, we are supposed to exhibit and reflect to others the joy we have due to Christ! Not due to our problem-free life or our unrealistic optimism. Acts 16 tells us of Paul and Silas's imprisonment due to their preaching the gospel and their subsequent beating (v. 22, 23). After receiving "many stripes upon them," they both prayed and sang hymns in their prison cell. And the Bible says, "...the prisoners heard them," (v. 25). What a great testimony! The prison keeper trusted Christ due to their witness!
When I am tempted to feel down or depressed, I often repeat this portion of the verse to myself: "...In His presence is fullness of joy."
Wherever you are and whatever is going on around you, you can choose to be in His presence and know His fullness of joy. Even at a funeral. Even in a crisis. Even through your tears. Maintain your close relationship with Him through prayer, Bible study. Memorize Scripture. Fill your heart with hymns. Stay in His presence and you will have fullness of joy!