Count it All Joy

Joy is one of the distinctive marks of those who are "in Christ"-even when in difficulties. "In all our troubles my joy knows no bounds," exclaimed Paul in 2 Corinthians 7:4.

 "Happiness" comes from the same word as "happenings." When happenings change, so does happiness. The joy of the Lord, however, is a "joy that no man can take" from us (John 16:22 KJV). Christ's joy remains despite burned casseroles, no promotions at work, and even poor health; it abounds under all conditions. In fact, the joy of the Lord is often the most evident when we're in trying times.

"Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity" (2 Corinthians 8:2). Only in Christ would these three be combined.

The three young Hebrew men could in no way have anticipated the joy their severest trial would bring them-the joy of being in the presence of the Son of God! Their furnace experience must have been a treasured memory-the time when their fellowship with God had been the closest. "In thy presence is fullness of joy"--even in difficult times.

Dear Jesus, thank You for making Your joy available to me in my most difficult moments.  Give me grace to accept the strength Your joy provides.
 
"I am greatly encouraged; in all our troubles my joy knows no bounds" (2 Corinthians 7:4).