Years ago, when the children of a dear friend of mine were very small, they would say a phrase to each other that has stuck with me throughout the years.  When one of the children was upset with the other, he would say they were "stealing his joy".  I would smile as it was a sweet way to express their annoyance with each other.  But, as I have thought about it I have wondered how often it is that our joy is actually "stolen".  I don't mean our "happiness", but instead, joy - joy in the Lord.   You see, true joy is a gift from God and can only fade when we take our eyes off of Him.  That kind of joy can't be taken from us unless we allow it to be.  Happiness is dependent upon our circumstances, but joy happens in spite of them.

It was during an extremely challenging and painful time in my life that I first learned this truth.  I found that as I stopped focusing on the difficulty and turned my attention to what the Lord was trying to teach me through the situation, joy entered my life.  As I began to trust God and believe that He had a plan for me that was good, the tiny glimmer of light grew. And as it grew, so did my strength.  God then enabled me to travel through that difficult season in my life and feel the joy that only knowing Him brings.  "The joy of the Lord is your strength" (Nehemiah 8:10).

When I began to focus on the Lord and His activity in and around my life I started to see things from a different view.  I became hungry for His Word and I avidly read and studied its pages.  I prayed and poured out my heart to Him...not just once or twice, but constantly throughout the day.  When I awoke during the night and couldn't sleep, I asked Him what He wanted to tell me in that moment, realizing it was He who had opened my eyes.  The more I came before Him, the more I wanted to be with Him...and the relationship grew bringing a surprising joy that I had never experienced before. In the midst of my sorrow, when I had lost so much, God's loving embrace taught me to find the joy in Him.  "But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them sing joyful praises forever. Spread your protection over them, that all who love your name may be filled with joy" (Psalm 5:11).

And as it is promised in the 23rd Psalm, God brought me through the valley.  Now I cannot even imagine a day without Him.  Stresses, difficulties and yes, some unhappy times may come and go in my life, but I know that through it all, He will be there to strengthen me.  Nothing will take my joy from me for the Lord is my Joy, my Strength and my Redeemer forever.  Amen!

"Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.  For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.  So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing" James 1:2-4).

Living for Him,

I invite you to link up today for "Sharing His Beauty" and share the blessing that God is to you in your life. Simply click on the "You're Next" linky below and enter your blog information.

Or, if you choose, you may leave a comment on my post to tell of the beauty you have found in His hands.


  1. What a heartfelt blogpost. I will ponder this often in the next few days. I am taking care of my mother who is 85 and has Alzheimer's disease. It is very much a hard road.
    I hope I stuck to the subject for your linkup!
    Gayle from Behind the gate

  2. Hi Joan - I love this post today, mainly because for a long time I have lost my joy. I feel like I'm getting there but what you say here - "The more I came before Him, the more I wanted to be with Him..." is what its all about. Focusing on Him and not on my circumstance.
    God bless

  3. Joan, what you've written here are almost the same experiences, epiphanies, and desires that I've been through. I also have done my best, and continue to do, to know more about true joy that only comes from the Lord. I've written about joy several times: finding joy in difficult times, fuller joy, etc, and the latest was joy that can't be stolen.

    I pray God that we will continue to bask in THIS joy of the Lord as we stay in His will.

    Have a blessed week,

  4. This is a lovely post and love your quotes ... very good :)

  5. I think we often confuse happiness with joy. However, we can be joyful in our circumstances even when we are not happy. Joy comes in knowing the Lord is with us, walking us through the valley.

    Great post, Joan.

  6. Sorry I linked up twice with a wierd picture... I couldn't get the crop thing to work right.

  7. No problem, Laura! I fixed the double link up. As for the picture, I noticed this week Linky had me crop my pic as well. Funny. But, I like your picture! It intrigues me and I'm going to go read your post now!

  8. AMEN!

    Yes, I have also discovered the difference between happiness and joy. I would far rather have that sense of eternal joy deep in my soul, than to have moments of fleeting earthly happiness. Oddly enough, though - once the joy invades your heart, you tend to become a much happier person!


  9. Hi Joan. Stopping by from Sharon's place. Thanks for sharing this. I'm encouraged, reminded how refocusing on Jesus brings peace and joy. How is that so easy to forget? So easy to focus on problems or fears. I needed the reminder. Thank you.
    Good to meet you :)
    Newly following,

  10. What a beautiful post! And what encouragement this is for those in the valley at this moment. Thank you for sharing your discovery of joy during a difficult time.

  11. Thank you so much for allowing me to join your link-up. HOPE you have a blessed week!

  12. Beth Moore has a really good lesson on "Joy Stealers" in one of her shorter-length Bible studies. (I wish I could remember it right now!)

    God bless you as you spread seeds of joy to those around you. xxoo


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