A Prayer to Remember That Joy Is a Way of Life
By Meg Bucher
“Be joyful always.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16
The crack echoed from one ear to the other as my head smacked up against the wall. It hurt … so bad. Stopped dead in my tracks, I felt my forehead for a split and a drip of blood and was relieved to find neither. With frozen veggies applied to the place of impact, I went back to survey how I missed a literal wall. I walked into it full force. Ever since my family moved, I continually make wrong turns in the new house, because the daily paths I walked at the old house had become so automatic. Every time I get to the top of the staircase, I turn to the right …but turning to the right no longer leads me to my room …it’s a left-hand turn now. I wish I could say my collision with the wall that day was the only casualty to my adjustment to all the directional changes in my daily path.
The Bible commands us, “be joyful aways!” But let’s face it, we’re not joyful when we run smack into a wall at full speed. No amount of frozen veggies applied to the place of impact makes us feel better about running into a literal wall. Thankfully, the kind of joy Paul wrote of in this verse, and the Bible commands us to take hold of, isn’t a fleeting feeling. There’s no proverbial wall we can run into in this life that will snatch away the joy we have in the Lord. This joy helps us stagger over to the freezer and grab the bag and endure the pain until it subsides.
The real walls we smack into and scale in life require a joy bigger and stronger than the fleeting feeling of happiness or the relief of laughter as we roll through our favorite sitcom on Netflix. No, joy in the Lord is our strength, as Nehemiah wrote. Joy is the substance and root of our strength to endure this life on earth. It’s going to be hard and it’s going to be unfair, but it isn’t without joy. That’s because our joy is rooted in the Lord. As we pray today, let us seek the Lord for a fresh perspective on the walls in our lives.
Father, some days are just harder than others. Some days are rolling along just fine until we run smack into a wall we didn’t see. But God, nothing surprises You. You see us, and You know our hearts. When the days are hard, and when they get flipped upside down, help us to remember the joy we have in Jesus. Father, we praise You for Joy! Thank You for designing us to crave more of You, Lord, because it is there we find our hope. Our hope is in You! And You love us, Lord. You have good plans for our lives and are able to work all things for Your good …even when we run smack into walls.
Father, You are the only One who can uphold the promise of “always,” but today we vow to try. Develop in us a deep desire for Your joy. Fill us until we are overflowing, Father, with hope, peace, and joy. God, we want to experience life to the full, as Jesus died so that we could. But there is a very real enemy who intends to steal our joy. Father don’t ever let us forget that our joy is permanently sealed into the core of who we are in Christ. It cannot be stolen! Joy remains, and joy strengthens us when we are weak and weary. Joy helps us stagger to the freezer for a bag of frozen veggies after we run smack into a wall.
Father, thank You for all the ways You heal us and lead us out of bad days and hard seasons. It’s so hard for us to see You clearly when we are in acute pain, God. Bless us with a clear vision of who You are and Whose we are. Embolden us to walk freely in joy, day by day, as we get closer to the number of our days and coming home to You in heaven. Father, we trust in You and You alone.
In Jesus’ Name, amen.
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Meg writes about everyday life within the love of Christ as a freelance writer, blogger at Sunny&80, and author of “Friends with Everyone, Friendship within the Love of Christ,” “Surface, Unlocking the Gift of Sensitivity,” and “Glory Up, The Everyday Pursuit of Praise,” and “Home, Finding Our Identity in Christ.” She earned a Marketing/PR degree from Ashland University but stepped out of the business world to stay at home and raise her two daughters …which led her to pursue her passion to write. A member of Faith Church in Sandusky, OH, she serves as Communications Director and leads Bible studies for women and teen girls. Meg is a Cleveland native and lifelong Browns fan, living by the shore of Lake Erie in Northern Ohio with her husband, two daughters, and golden doodle.
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Originally published Saturday, 21 May 2022.