I've been listening to a CD in my car by Darrell Evans. On it is an older song he wrote many years ago, but it still has a relevant message for today. Some of the lyrics state: “I am trading my sorrows, I am trading my pain, I am laying them down for the joy of the Lord . . . I am trading my sickness, I am trading my shame, I am laying them down for the joy of the Lord. . . for the joy of the Lord is my strength. . . sorrow may last for the night, but joy comes in the morning . .”
A minister, who is also a prolific writer, recently shared a “dream” he had in which he met Enoch and had some conversations with him. He had noticed something about Enoch that stood out from anyone he had ever met before.
Let me quote him here: “I met the happiest person I have ever seen. I believe he may have been the happiest person to ever walk the earth — Enoch. I never thought of Enoch as being this way, but it was a revelation. . .Enoch is a revelation of the joy of the Lord that comes from walking with Him. As we are told in Nehemiah, the joy of the Lord is our strength. . . I was told that this joy is available to each of us in these times and that we would get there the same way Enoch did — by walking with God.”
We know, according to Psalm 16:11 that “in His presence is the fullness of joy.” Part of our “inheritance” is the joy of the Lord, which comes from an abiding relationship with the Lord. In the natural, there are many reasons to be anything but joyful. In the days that Enoch lived, men had been backslidden and were away from God, but the scriptures state that they began to walk with God again in the days of Enoch. Enoch just hung out with God more than most and one day when he was “walking” with Him, he just kept walking and the scriptures say that “the Lord took Him.” I believe that he had such an intimate relationship with his God that began to consume more and more of his time here on this earth, until one day the Lord granted him the desire of his heart, to be with Him all the time!
I think it is time that we learn to trade our sorrows, our pain, our sickness, our shame for His abiding joy. If there ever was a time where each of us needed His strength to face the many situations that life brings our way, it certainly is the times we are living in.
If you will recall, God used to “walk” with Adam and Eve in the garden, each evening — it was a time of fellowship and intimacy. When they sinned by partaking of the forbidden tree, that fellowship was broken.
Notice that it was them that hid, because of fear and shame. God still came to walk (fellowship) with them, but they could no longer do that freely, because of their guilt and shame. 6I wonder what would have happened if they had repented right then and there and asked the Lord to forgive them and restore them to fellowship?
My pastor noted some weeks ago that he has seen very few Christians that seem to have the joy of the Lord in their lives.
Certainly many have exhibited joy from time to time, but to abide in it on a continual basis — I have to agree — not only do I not know anyone like that, but I am a long way from being that way myself.
The scriptures speak of Jesus being anointed with the oil of joy. One time, when the 70 returned with testimonies of what was happening through them, Jesus was “beside Himself” with joy! God rejoices over us — He is a joyful God and we can have that same joy when we are abiding in Him.