By Jeremy Slough

Can you feel it? It’s like a spring welling within you. It’s like a rocket about to blast into orbit. It’s like a million Christmases or your birthday every day. That bubbling brook in your heart, your gratefulness towards the Father – that’s joy!

It can’t be stolen, it can’t be silenced, it can’t disappear from your life. Yes, it can be disquieted, it can be disturbed, it can be disrupted. But it is our ancient weapon against the ails of life.

There was an old hymn I sang with my family – “I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart, down in my heart to stay” – beautiful words for a child to sing.

Life happens. Yes, it does! Children are born sick, we face crises and fears on a daily basis, we lose hope, we lose sleep, we lose health. We run out of money, we face family and relationship breakdowns, we lose work, we lose ones we once held dear. Life is about loss. How can we retain joy?

I’ll be the first to admit, I can be extremely unjoyful. Undue circumstances can impede my joy. Depression and worry can move upon me. Joy can take a backseat to confusion and unrest. But it’s always there. It’s my love language towards God, and His towards me. He’s eternally joyful that I wake up and have Him, and that I don’t have to slumber without Him on those hard nights. He is found in the deepest, darkest, most hurting parts of my heart, ministering joy to my soul and mind.

Sometimes, when we don’t have much to offer ourselves or others, that’s when joy runs deepest, out of humble gratitude that we’re chosen and beloved. It’s a feeling that helps us through the mundaneness and minutiae of life, giving us strength to serve our loved ones and carry on. It’s a feeling I adore, as it reminds me God is with me, helping me through life’s challenges.

A smile, a cool breeze, sunset by the ocean, a kind word or text, a mother’s embrace, a child’s “I love you” – it’s these small but oh, so powerful of life’s touches that bring us joy. A life of joy can conquer many and anything. We are made with joy in the recesses of our being and, despite the hardships of life, we can remain joyful because we have the God of joy down in our hearts, down in our hearts to stay.

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