Do you feel discouraged? Sometimes when we feel challenged by some problem, we may think that we have to give up being joyful, and get upset.
But the ability to feel and show joy doesn't come from the favorable circumstances of our human lives; it comes from God. We can't lose joy any more than we can lose God. And we're forever in the presence of God. He is all-powerful and totally good. Joy, as a spiritual quality, lasts forever. We always have it.
Having joy includes feeling good cheer and a vibrant happiness. But joy, in its fuller, spiritual meaning of expressing God's goodness, involves more. It is a deep-rooted, inspired happiness.
The Holy Bible says, "The joy of the Lord is your strength" (Neh. 8:10). The Bible says God gives us joy and peace. It tells us that real joy comes from God and is ours forever. The joy that is found in God's presence isn't static; it transforms and regenerates us.
Paul, a follower of Jesus Christ, wrote in a letter that joy is a "fruit of the Spirit" (Gal. 5:22). Spirit is another name for God. Spiritual joy from God gives us a sense of the presence of good, showing His infinite power to govern the lives of men and women. As we learn more that God is All, that He is good, and that there is no power besides Him, spiritual joy will be ours more and more, bringing healing and happiness into our lives.
At the heart of joy is an unshakable awareness that we possess good from God. Joy is part of God's kingdom. Harmony and painless being are spiritual qualities, and expressing joy brings these qualities into view in our lives.
Sometimes, though, it may seem like hard work to feel a spiritual, consistent joy. The task gets easier when you recognize that you have the power to govern how you think. There isn't anything that can really take away your knowledge of God or stop you from feeling spiritual joy. You can let this spiritual sense be yours, instead of thoughts of discouragement or despair. If it still seems difficult to express joy, you might even need to argue with yourself that you have power from God to do it.
Mary Baker Eddy, the woman who discovered Christian Science and founded this newspaper, once told an audience: "Let us remember that God - good - is omnipotent; therefore evil is impotent.... If you wish to be happy, argue with yourself on the side of happiness; take the side you wish to carry, and be careful not to talk on both sides, or to argue stronger for sorrow than for joy. You are the attorney for the case, and will win or lose according to your plea" ("Christian Healing," Pg. 10).
I remember a time when I had to do this. A member of my family was very ill, and I was afraid for him. The whole family had been praying earnestly to God for his healing. During this experience I silently prayed, asking to understand more of God's unshakable goodness and to know the joy that comes from Him.
In that moment I became free of fear for this individual. Peace came to my thought, and I felt the assurance of knowing that God's goodness is always present with His children, governing us all. I felt sure that all was well with this family member, because the joy that came to my thought showed me that we were safe in the presence of God. The healing power of joy brought a change in me. And it wasn't too long afterward that he began to feel better, too.
If you are facing trying times and want to feel the presence of God's healing power instead of discouragement, argue with yourself that you can know the joy God is giving you right now. Don't believe that you have to feel desperate about any problem. All that God gives you is always present, ready for your recognition and expression. You will find that when you look for the joy that comes from God, you will find it and express it. Greater peace and harmony will follow.
The joy God gives you has healing power.
The ransomed of the Lord ...
shall obtain joy and gladness,
and sorrow and sighing
shall flee away.