I have spent the past few months in a place called “melancholy.” I have camped out there, not committing to any high or low, but rather an in-between. In-between is a dangerous place to be; it can lead to apathy. Apathy can create unawareness – even blindness, to the world around you. For me, apathy causes me to become emotionally absent from the ones I love. I become withdrawn. In pulling away from those who nurture and nourish me day to day, I find myself at an even greater distance from the Lord. “But he who fails to find me injures himself.” (Proverbs 8:36a).
Apathy creates a veil – a glass partition, of sorts. There is an awareness of the Lord’s presence, but an inability to reach our hand out to His welcoming hand. It is His hand that pulls us into His lap, and pulls us close to His heart, so that we can hear and feel the beating strength of His perfect peace. If we are not in His lap, we are not abounding in His joy – the joy that gives us strength. “The Lord is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst forth with songs of thanksgiving.” (Psalm 28:7)
Sharing the gospel, the Apostle John writes, “makes our joy complete” (1 John 1:4). He affirms that as children of God, we are to be joyful in Christ Jesus, and to be joyful in every trial and victory. This sounds so very difficult to me…joy always. “Splendor and majesty are before Him; strength and joy are in His place.” (1 Chronicles 16:27)
Strength and joy are in His place. I want to be in His place. I want to be in the presence of the Lord, even when I can’t fathom joy. But by faith, I know that, in Him, I can find joy. Each day, several times a day, I ask the Lord to give me a spirit of joy – Joy in my heart, joy that fills me to overflowing, not because of my circumstances, but because of Christ in me. “Seek the Lord and His strength, seek His presence continually.” (1 Chronicles 16:11) As I ask, He fills. He fills my heart with joy. “You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound.” (Psalm 4:7)
So, from now on, this is where I will camp. No longer in melancholy, I will camp in joy. “You have turned my wailing into dancing; You removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart will sing to you and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give You thanks forever.” (Psalm 30:11-12)
Beloved, I implore you to seek joy. Seek the joy of the Lord. Abound in His strength, not your own. Advent is a beautiful season, but advent can be a most difficult time for those who mourn. It can be a time when happy, glee, and delight seem as elusive as snow in July. But, dear one, joy is never elusive. Joy is abundant and available, and always a breath away. Call on the mighty name of Jesus. Seek His joy. Seek Him to fill you to overflowing with the strength of His perfect peace and joy.
Be blessed and be a blessing!
Article Written By: Samantha Ewing