Thankfully you can’t hear me singing though! Actually, I’m more of a metal head than anything else so it’s probably more like “My Soul Screams”. Regardless of how it sounds, down in the deepest parts of my soul there is an expression of joy.
A couple years ago Brooke and I were out to dinner with a racer and his bride-to-be. Though he grew up in racing family he only started driving after college. He wasn’t doing terrible but he wasn’t leading laps either. However, that evening at dinner he said it didn’t matter, “When I’m in the car making laps my soul just sings.” I understood what he was saying. He was trying to put into context an expression of happiness that wasn’t dependent on a particular outcome.
That’s a pretty great definition to one aspect of joy – happiness that isn’t dependent on a particular outcome. Now I consider myself to be a pretty optimistic guy. However, I’ve got to take the bumps and bruises of life just like everyone else. Just because I may not be feeling or expressing happiness doesn’t mean I’ve lost joy though. There is a deeper aspect when defining joy; Joy in the Lord is an assurance and confidence that He’s in control despite the outlook. Because of joy we can praise God in every situation.
I often think of life of Joseph who was hated by his brothers, sold into slavery, falsely accused and thrown in prison. However Joseph always maintained his joy. He never faltered in his confidence that the Lord was still in control despite the downward spiral he seemed to be stuck in. In Genesis 50:20 Joseph finally was able to express restoration to the things he suffered at the hands of his brothers by saying “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good”. Even with evil plotted against him, Joseph knew that joy was a source of strength (Nehemiah 8:10) if he was obedient in his relationship with the Lord (John 15:9-11).
Joy is an essential attribute of the Christian heart (Galatians 5:22) and will be a valuable resource to pull on when life displays its unpredictable nature. Let’s go after a greater depth of joy by placing our assurance and confidence in the Lord despite any negative outlook. Use the strength he provides to overcome the difficulties of life and let your soul continually sing.