Life is what we make it, and we have been given the freedom to choose either a miserable existence or an abundantly joyful, victorious life. It seems like a pretty simple choice, but until we learn to think as God thinks, life will keep knocking us flat. There will always be situations to go through and issues to overcome, but we don’t have to struggle along by ourselves. Meditating on the Word of God long enough brings a supernatural joy we can’t explain rationally; it gives us the strength not just to get by, but to overcome anything that comes against us.
Happiness comes from how we feel, but joy comes from what we know. When we know the biblical promises made specifically to us, not just intellectually but down deep in our spirit, it’s hard not to rejoice and be thankful. God wants us to enjoy life. “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). God’s intent is to restore whatever the devil robs from our lives.
The enemy attacks our minds, trying to introduce doubt, anxiety, worry, and fear. These are designed to steal our joy, but we don’t have to tolerate these emotions. Life would be boring if we never had any opportunities to flex our spiritual muscles; and if daily living were too easy, we’d never grow to be strong Christians. The world may think that being a Christian means constantly looking serious and somber, but our strength is in the joy of the Lord (Nehemiah 8:10).
As believers, we face trials and challenges just like everyone else, but one of the differences between people of faith and the rest of the world is how we respond to those challenges. We know we’re not our own source of strength and, when we’re weak, we can lean on someone else who makes us strong. God is not only our strength, but He also makes our feet like hinds’ feet and sets us up to walk on high places (Habakkuk 3:19). Others who depend on their own strength often give up because they feel overwhelmed and discouraged.
When trouble arises, our trust in God’s Word ensures the trouble is only temporary. Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning (Psalm 30:5). God has promised us that we’ll never walk alone. We have His guarantee that He’ll bring us out of it even if He has to carry us, and He’ll never leave us in that situation. “Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee” (Deuteronomy 31:6).
Sometimes it’s difficult to rejoice. During times when we’re severely tested, rejoicing becomes a deliberate decision, a willful act to obey God’s Word. “Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the Lord! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!” (Habakkuk 3:17, 18, NLT). God honors this type of determination. Finding our joy opens the door to full, complete, and total restoration of everything that was missing, broken, or stolen.