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Welcoming the JOY

~By: Arlene Alicea~

At the end of every year, I ask the Lord to give me a word to describe my coming year. For 2020, He revealed the word ‘JOY’ to me. At that point, I wasn’t sure where this simple word was going to take me.

Before the year 2019 ended, problems began to stir in my life, and they haven’t stopped -- problems with my house, confinement that we are all living out today, financial worries, and health issues. On a regular day these things would not matter much, but since my daily routine has been compromised, it feels as if these things are all bought out into the light and magnified. By compromised, I mean that this is the perfect environment for the enemy to strike. He will try to make us believe that our problems are larger than life and that there is no way out. And with everything on lock down, it’s hard to reach out to those around us for help. Being stuck at home hinders my daily life, so I am keeping my focus on my quiet time with the Lord; reading the Word and praying.

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds. James 1:2 (ESV)

These are the words that God continues to show me. How do we find joy in our problems? It all started to make sense when I came upon a specific definition of the word joy in The Tony Evans Bible Commentary: “Joy is the overflow of life, the stability inside despite chaos on the outside.” So, there you have it! Although I have been afflicted constantly over the past six months, I have been feeling peace and stability on the inside with the fact that God is taking care of it, and because of that, I can continue walking in joy.

I am acting with great boldness toward you; I have great pride in you; I am filled with comfort. In all our affliction, I am overflowing with joy. 2 Corinthians 7:4 (ESV)

I always surround myself with faith-filled women who I can reach out to at any moment for prayer over circumstances and affirmation of truth in my life. This brings me peace, God’s peace.

Our faith has to be stronger today than ever before. These are the moments Jesus Christ has prepared us for. We must believe and be secured in His purpose. God is working something out in all of our lives.

Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in everything; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (CSB)

I hear people say that during this time God wants us to slow down and spend time with what matters most. We may never fully know God’s intentions, but He reveals to us His purpose for our lives and things that we may need to realign. He may be showing us that family is more important than work, rest is more important than constant movement and hustle and bustle, or that being in God’s presence needs to be our top priority. Many have come to the Lord during this crisis. We just need to remember that faith and prayer do not stop when the world gets back to ‘normal.’ We need to focus on the lessons learned and stay focused on Him.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. Romans 15:13 (ESV)

Friend, I leave you with this:

Joy: the feeling and expression of the inner celebration and satisfaction of the soul that transcends circumstances. (Tony Evans)

God is our celebration and satisfaction, and we can do all things through Him. He will never leave us or forsake us. He is our Father and our Savior. He is our JOY!

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