Saturday, December 31, 2022

The Year of Joy {Looking Back}


In this my year of joy, I have relearned that the Lord Himself is the only sure and certain joy; that joy must be fought for by seeking His face in the Scriptures and prayer, in Christian friendships and in Creation. He has kindly sent me tokens of joy and providence in some of the hardest moments of 2022, and there were many. (Books, birds, and butterflies provided some of them, as you may expect.)

Below are some of the best quotes I’ve collected on joy or which felt adjacent to it. (It has been my habit for some years to watch for and gather up occurrences of my year’s focal word in my reading.) As you will see, Christian joy is often discovered in the midst of sorrow and through sorrow (not in opposition to it).

“Though the fig tree does not bud and there is no fruit on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though the flocks disappear from the pen and there are no herds in the stalls, yet I will celebrate in the Lord; I will rejoice in the God of my salvation! The Lord my Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like those of a deer and enables me to walk on mountain heights! For the choir director: on stringed instruments.”

‭‭Habakkuk‬ ‭3‬:‭17‬-‭19‬ ‭CSB‬‬

“Consider it a great joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you experience various trials, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance.”

‭‭James‬ ‭1‬:‭2‬-‭3‬ ‭CSB‬‬

Outside of Scripture, the quote which defined my year comes from Puritan Bible-commentary writer Matthew Henry:

“A child of God knows no true or solid joy but the joy of God’s salvation, joy in God his Saviour and in the hope of eternal life.”

“… the most excellent study for expanding the soul is the science of Christ and him crucified and the knowledge of the Godhead in the glorious Trinity. Nothing will so enlarge the intellect, nothing so magnify the whole soul of man as a devout, earnest, continued investigation of the great subject of the Deity. And while humbling and expanding, the subject is eminently consolatory. There is in contemplating Christ a balm for every wound. In considering the Father, there is a comfort for every grief, and in the influence of the Holy Spirit, there is a salve for every sore. Would you lose your sorrows? Would you drown your cares? Then go plunge yourself in the Godhead’s deepest sea—be lost in His immensity. And you will come forth as a from a couch of rest, refreshed and invigorated. I know nothing which can so comfort the soul, so calm the swelling billows of grief and sorrow—so speak peace to the winds of trial—as a devout musing upon the subject of the Godhead” (Charles Spurgeon).

“O Joy that seekest me through pain,

I dare not close my heart to Thee.

I trace the rainbow through the rain, 

and feel the promise is not vain, 

that morn shall tearless be” (George Matheson).

“Your faith may be boldly charitable of Christ, that however matters go, the worst shall be a tired traveller, and a joyful and sweet welcome home: the back of your winter night is broken. Look to the east—the day sky is breaking; think not that Christ loseth time or lingereth unsuitably” (Samuel Rutherford, The Loveliness of Christ).

“Joy is to be the keynote of our lives.”

“Joys are always on their way to us” (Amy Carmichael, Candles in the Dark).

“The one pure joy of the one who suffers is the presence of Christ” (Janet Erskine Stuart).

#joy #oneword2022 #bible #quotes #odgquotes 

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