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How can we keep our joy?

   Sometimes it is impossible to keep our joy.  God knows that there is so much going on in the world that is disturbing that we become consumed and we often are frightened of not only the present, but also the future.  There are so many things that can cause us to loose our joy.  There are not only the things of the world but also the things of our lives.  Maybe it is your family and the issues that consume every waking moment.  Maybe it is the caring of an ailing parent and all the stress that comes with dealing with the reality that they can't take care of themselves anymore.  It could be an illness to you or a loved one that causes you worries everyday.  Maybe the loss of your joy has to do with your or a loved ones' financial situation.  Money, or the lack of it, can cause so many problems not only those that are physical, but also those that are emotional and spiritual.  Simply, we can and do become  consumed with life, especially when it doesn't seem to go our way.

   How do we keep our joy when life around us seems to be crumbling?  We can learn a lot from Job.  You see, Job suffered greatly with the loss of his family and all that he owned.  If you read Job, you may think that it is horrible that he railed at God.  Some would even say that they see no patience in Job.  In fact, one might say that Job lost his joy.  But, in reality, Job did show great patience!  Job may have been in pain, but he did not loose his joy, because his joy was in God.

   Job, in the midst of his pain, did something extraordinary.  He turned to God, his one true joy.  Yes, he was upset!  Yes, he questioned God's purpose for him, but he continued to  speak with God.  All too many times when people suffer the sometimes horrifying side of life, we blame God.  Not only do we blame God, but also we fail to seek God for comfort and strength.  God is the one true joy.

   The things of life will fail us.  The things of life may bring us happiness, a simple emotion that can change with the twists and turns of life, but real joy comes through our relationship with God.  God will never fail you.  God will never stop loving you.  God is always present with you, even in the midst of despair.  Job knew this to be true.  I can't promise you that the problems of you life will go away, the stress of dealing with family, the pain of dealing with an aging parent nor the loss of a job, but I will tell you that if we stay connected to God, you will be given the tools to cope with those difficult issues of life.  The tools we receive when we stay connected to God are the strength to endure and the courage to press on.  With the knowledge that God is always with us, waiting for us to call on God so that God can share God's healing love should always give us great joy, even in the most difficult times

   Until next time,

   Grace and Peace

   Shane