“I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” — John 15:11
I have a melancholy personality — I can be overly serious and sad. But not my friend Sue. She battled multiple recurrences of cancer and related treatments, and watched her son suffer from a devastating illness. Yet, Sue’s authentic joy was always evident.
How was she able to experience sincere joy amid life’s challenges? Having spent a lot of time with her, I believe I know her secret. And it’s the same secret that allowed the apostle Paul to be content in any and every situation. Psalm 16:11 reveals it to us: “In your presence there is fullness of joy” (ESV). To experience true joy, we need to be in the presence of the Lord. Only He can fill us with joy regardless of our circumstances.
Joy is a fruit of the Spirit that must grow and mature, and growth happens as we abide in Christ. In John 15:5, Jesus tells us, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” Later in verse 11, He states, “I have you told this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.”
Sue exemplified someone who truly abided in Christ. She was a woman of prayer and the Word, resulting in the joy of the Lord flowing from her regardless of her circumstances. When your circumstances are bringing you down, get into God’s presence. Spend time in His Word and in prayer, and you can experience His inexplicable joy.
— Karen Zando, Orlando Pride team chaplain
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