"Let's each tell something for which we are thankful," my husband suggested as we traveled with our two young children and my mother one holiday. I've thought often of Mother's summary statement. After mentioning several things for which she was grateful, she added, "If God is pleased, all is well. Let other things fall where they will, if I know that God is pleased, I am happy."
Mother's joy did not depend upon circumstances but upon her relationship with Jesus. I saw her distressed look the evening my husband told her that her medical tests revealed she had cancer. The next morning, though, I could detect nothing but peace on her countenance. I knew that during the night she had taken that distress to the Lord with the attitude, "Not my will, but yours."
God is the author of all joy. "We human beings keep thinking we can produce joy on our own. But we never can," states John Oswalt. "Joy is always a by-product of the presence of God in his world. When we, through our lack of trust, hold him at arm's length, the end result is desolation."
Acknowledging that God is the author of all joy is a great achievement in the Christian life. His approval is the sweetest joy. The thrill of a new house, fame, money, or others' approval all seem trivial by comparison.
"I ask no other sunshine than the sunshine of His face," wrote Elizabeth Clephane in "Beneath the Cross of Jesus." She was saying, "Lord, I seek to have Your pleasure. If I have Your approval I have everything I need to be happy."
Thank You, Jesus, for teaching us to make You our source of our deepest joy.
"I will go to the altar of God-to God-the source of all my joy" (Psalm 43:4 NLT).