“Do you know what I’m thankful for? I’m thankful for joy. That may sound strange but I’ve learned over the years that joy is one of those things that lasts. 

I get tired of throw away things and emotions. We get them, use them and then lose interest in them. They end up in yard sales. Or we feel them, chase that feeling and then find out in the end that’s it’s just as empty as the last high we chased. Not so with joy. It’s always rich and full. It can strengthen the weakest heart and the most wobbly knees. 

Once, when I was in a very low spot, God met me there with joy. I’d wrestled with the enemy until I was white knuckled and red faced. I felt like I was getting nowhere. I lost strength and eventually hope. I was in quick sand and sinking fast. This went on for weeks. I prayed and prayed and couldn’t make any ground. And then God met me there. He brought an Audrey Assad song into that darkness titled “He Came Like a Winter Snow.” It was quiet and unassuming, but it broke into my darkness like a sledgehammer. I wept as God mended my long broken heart in a matter of minutes. Weeks of darkness dissipated in seconds and light, His Light broke in. I was overwhelmed…with joy. 

Nehemiah and the people of God faced insurmountable obstacles as they returned to rebuild Jerusalem. But the Lord met them in every obstacle and gave them victory. Until, that is, they began to look at their hearts. They had done the physically impossible in restoring their city, but when Ezra gathered the people and began to read the Bible to them, they were overwhelmed. They began to weep as God exposed their hidden sin. But Ezra spoke to them. He said “Don’t be grieved. The joy of the Lord is your strength!” 

Ezra is right. When you’re at the end of your ability and the Spirit of God shows you your sin, don’t be grieved. When you run out of ideas and the Lord reveals the reason for your struggle in your own heart, don’t walk away. The joy of the Lord is your strength! Look to the very One who lead you to that empty spot and trust Him to lead you out. He will always be your Provider. Trust Him to strengthen you with His joy. 

Maybe your joy meter is running on full today. If so, use it! Praise God for His strength when you are weak! If that’s not you, don’t give up! His joy comes new and fresh every morning. Just like the sunrise washes the damp darkness of night away, so God brings His joy into our lives at just the right moments. Trust Him in this. He never disappoints. 

I pray your Thanksgiving holiday is filled with joy this year. We can’t buy it, cook it or open it. It’s simply a gift that cannot be experienced unless God brings it to you. Don’t be surprised when you seek Him and find more than turkey and dressing this Thursday. His joy is full!