Fullness of Joy

Thou will show me the paths of life: in Thy Presence is fullness of joy;
at Thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore. - Psalm 16:11

     My husband and I used to live on a wooded camper lot in New England. It was a narrow half acre, approximately seventy feet wide by three hundred feet deep. The ground gradually ascended to a secluded spot at very back of the property. Even though that half acre was located in a neighborhood with houses, when we retreated to that particular area on that property, it was as if we were in some remote wilderness location.

     One day many years ago, I was praying in that wilderness spot among the trees. I suddenly felt the Holy Spirit descend on me with an intensity I had never experienced before. It was as if an enormous bubble of pure joy had been released upon my soul. It was overwhelming. I really don’t know how to describe it, except that for a few brief moments in time, I believe I was privileged to experience at least a portion of “the fullness of Joy” that accompanies God’s presence.

     When the intensity of that experience eventually dissipated, I was eager to share what had happened to me with my husband. I raced back down the incline dodging rocks and roots until I found him three hundred feet away near the shrubs by the driveway. Breathlessly I blurted out what I had experienced, and he responded by telling me that the same exact thing had happened to him at the same time! We were both ecstatic and blessed by the miracle. We also both had the distinct impression that the joy of the Lord's presence we had felt was a prelude to His second coming.

     Remembering the joy that abounds in the presence of the Lord, is something that has helped sustain me through some difficult times. I know that someday that same joy I felt many years ago is waiting for me to experience all over again in the Lord’s presence throughout eternity. In the meantime, His joy must remain within me on a daily basis no matter what my circumstances might be.

     Jesus said, “In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

     Jesus spoke those words to encourage His disciples before they were going to experience seeing their Lord brutally crucified and buried. I know that at that moment the disciples really did not understand all that Jesus meant by telling them that He had overcome the world. But I am sure that when they were overwhelmed with joy standing before their resurrected Lord, their understanding of what Jesus actually was trying to convey to them exuberantly plummeted into their souls.

     We need that same reassurance today as we face the cares and tribulations that are an inherent part of living on a sinned scarred planet. Jesus has overcome the world. The fear of death and the bondage it contains is gloriously shattered at the door of an empty tomb.

     Rejoice, children, and attach your hearts to the One who has overcome and let Him carry your spirits above the cares of this life like a child’s lively balloon. He is grinning at you as He walks on the water toward you to invite you to walk above the waters of this life with Him.

     We grow into this level of faith by spending quality time with Him alone in prayer and the Word of God. He may trickle His joy into you slowly, or burst it into you suddenly like a refreshing wave, but how ever He chooses to anoint you with this blessing, He needs you to be a willing vessel to receive the joy you need to buoy you through the stormy seas of this life.

I am filled with comfort, I am exceedingly joyful in all our tribulation. – 11 Corinthians 7:4

Copyright 2015 by H. D. Shively

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