“Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart” – Psalm 37:4
There is this Nigerian expression that says, “Wahala be like bicycle”. “Wahala” is a pidgin English word for “trouble”. And a bicycle is a machine that is simple to operate. So, “Wahala be like bicycle” means it is very easy to have troubles.
Life itself is made up of many troubles. Even Jesus told his followers that in the world they would have many troubles, but they should have courage and take heart because they will not be overtaken by the difficult situations and challenges they face.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” – John 16:33
Hence, no living person is a stranger to troubles. We each must deal with life as it comes daily. Yet, it is possible to live a joyful life irrespective of challenging situations. This is because a joyful life is based on the faith that God is concerned about everything that concerns us.
Joy and Righteous Living
God is bigger than every stagnation, every infertility, evil attacks, sickness, terminal disease, lack of finances, family troubles, societal upheavals, business failures, political betrayal, and every form of suffering or challenges.
But then, we must have a heart and live a life that joyfully serves the Lord and joyfully serves humanity; not a life of deceit, corruption, oppression of the poor, embezzlement of funds that do not belong to you, violence, injustice, evil plots, betrayal, jealousy, and all forms of sinful living.
We cannot mock or deceive God. We can pretend to others, but not to God who sees the evil devices of the heart. You cannot experience joy if you are engaged in evil acts, or if you live a sinful life.
“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap” – Galatians 6:7
If you sow joy into the life of others, you too will reap joy. “Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, will be given to you. For with the same measure you measure it, will be measured back to you” – Luke 6:38
Have you ever wondered why when Christians gather, they take time to sing joyful songs and praises to God? Wonder no more. It is because they understand that a joyful shout unto our God is a command to express our thanksgiving to the one who owns the Universe.
“Sing praises to the Lord, O you his saints, and give thanks to his holy name. For his anger is but for a moment, and his favour is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning” – Psalm 30:4-5
“Oh come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!” – Psalm 95:1
“O come, let us sing for joy to the Lord, let us shout joyfully to the rock of our salvation” – Psalm 51:8
Water from the Wells of Salvation
Again, joy attracts the favours and blessings of heaven. Yes, it does. When you are sad, depressed, fearful, anxious, hateful, complaining, grumbling, ungrateful, dissatisfied, or full of blame, you will not be able to joyfully draw the goodness and mercies of God upon your life. But with joy, you have the fullness of God’s promises.
“With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation” – Isaiah 12:3
“I will open rivers on the barren heights, and fountains in the middle of the valleys. I will turn the desert into a pool of water, and the dry land into flowing springs” – Isaiah 41:8
Joy in Suffering
Try singing and praising God in the face of challenges and see how God would surprise you.
“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials” – James 1:2
“Those who sow in tears shall reap with joyful shouting” – Psalm 126:5
“Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep” – Romans 12:15
When those troubles arise, joy means trusting that everything will be okay because it is all in God’s able hands. Hence, we must always praise God and in every circumstance.
“In every situation [no matter what the circumstances] be thankful and continually give thanks to God; for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus” – 1 Thessalonians 5:18
“Restore to me the joy of Your salvation; And sustain me with a willing spirit.” Amen – Psalm 51:12
“May He grant you your heart’s desire and fulfill all your plans! May we shout for joy over your salvation, and in the name of our God set up our banners! May the Lord fulfill all your petitions!” Amen – Psalm 20:4-5
Task: Try listening and dancing to Joepraize’s song on “Joy Overflow”. You can get it on Youtube.
(To be continued – in Part 2)