Most of us will immediately think of things like getting something we wanted or being content with life, but if I think hard enough, the most joyful people I know struggle more than anyone. Having what we'd like doesn't cut it. Neither does accepting our circumstances. No, it's something deeper.
I traveled to India last year. A team from Healing Place teamed up with Joyce Meyer Ministries. We had an incredible time, but of all the sights, smells and sounds one has stuck with me more than anything. We visited a feeding center full of dirty little kids living in the worst sorts of poverty. They were excited to sing songs and tell us the few English words they had learned. And there was one girl that radiated a youthful glow of happiness. I couldn't help but being taken aback by it. Here she was in this slum, and she couldn't stop smiling. When I got back to the hotel, I still saw that smile. It almost haunted me. Maybe it was because I couldn't figure out why she was so happy. Maybe I was feeling shame for not being happy with what God had given me. Either way, it changed me.
Joy isn't dictated by what we either have or don't. Our only true joy is a gift from God. The more we trust him, the more joy he is willing to lavish upon us. The more joy we share with others, the more God will give back to us.
8 I have set the LORD always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
9 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
my body also will rest secure,
10 because you will not abandon me to the grave,
nor will you let your Holy One see decay.
11 You have made known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand.