I've experienced a deep, unexplainable joy ever since I found out I had cancer. Even during the scary and painful times. And I don't understand why. It doesn't make any sense.
Joy is a perplexing thing to me. Is it a feeling? Is it a decision?
Here is what comes to mind when I think of joy...
Joy is that feeling you get when your favorite sports team wins. You can't help but leap to your feet with a shout!
Joy is when you find out your dear friend - who has been unable to get pregnant - is finally pregnant.
Joy is when you get that job you wanted so badly, but didn't think you had a chance.
Joy is what you feel when the man of your dreams bends down on his knee to ask the question you've been longing to hear.
Joy comes from getting what you hope for. The more hopeless the situation, the greater the joy when you receive what you've longed for.
Having joy in a trial comes from looking at the end, the finish line, the goal - knowing the outcome is worth the pain of the race.
"Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." ~Hebrews 12:2
Jesus endured the cross. He endured torture and pain beyond anything I can imagine. And unlike me, he had a choice. He could have stopped it at any moment.
What was the joy set before him? What could he have hoped for that would be worth that amount of pain?
The answer is simple:
God wanted a relationship with me.
And when the work on the cross was complete,
when the veil had been torn,
when the power of sin was broken and it could no longer separate me from God,
God leapt for joy. His joy is in me.
If God healed me today, I would leap for joy. I wouldn't be able to contain myself.
But the deepest cry of my heart isn't for healing.
It is for Jesus. To know him. To be close to him. To be in his presence. To sit at his feet.
That's what I hope for. It's available to me every day. And that's where I find my joy.