faith

Overflowing with joy

Do you ever have those moments when your heart is absolutely overflowing with joy? You find that happiness overwhelms you, flooding every inch of you, and you just don’t know how to respond?

Whatever things may bring you this same sense of joy, we can’t deny that we all feel this when we see God work in miraculous ways. This past week, there’s been very large things in my life that I’ve had to surrender to God and trust Him to work out according to His will. You could say that I was definitely astonished when I then saw Him exceed all plans and dreams that I could have ever imagined (or accomplished) on my own.

Can you remember a time when you gave God absolute control of a situation? Perhaps it was a situation that made you incredibly nervous or worried; yet, you trusted Him enough to know that His plan would be better than anything you could ever imagine. Before you knew it, you saw God’s handiwork in ways that couldn’t be explained. The absolute joy in those moments is incredible! Like I discussed last week, we may be left at a loss for words because of the ways God has revealed and brought glory to Himself.

I want to take a second to talk about this joy. Don’t worry, I’m not going to criticize emotions or go on some weird tangent about Joy from Inside Out.

When we see God do something miraculous, it’s in these moments of pure joy that we have to remember two things.

First, we have to remember to give Him the glory. With our natural tendencies to be prideful of our gifts and accomplishments, it’s easy to fall into the trap of taking credit for what God has done. It’s important to note that God does allow us to be part of His plans, which is an incredible blessing!

But honestly, we aren’t that great or special. Sorry, just being honest. We’re flawed, sinful beings, and any gifts or abilities that we do have are through God’s grace and love. Although we may use these talents to serve Him, we have to remember who gave us these gifts in the first place. God doesn’t need us to be part of His plans; as an all-powerful Creator, He can accomplish anything solely by Himself. Yet, He allows us to be part of His plans and witness His incredible works. When we see this we should be overwhelmed by His goodness!

Having said that, we don’t want to resort to the polar opposite problem — completely refusing to acknowledge the gifts God has given you. In our attempts to be “humble” (if we’re really honest, this is rooted in pride), we absolutely refuse to acknowledge any part that we played in this and insist that all credit goes to God. Granted, He does deserve all the credit and glory, but He can also be glorified through our humble acknowledgement of what He has gifted us.

A beautiful example of this can be found in the book of Daniel. In chapter 2, King Nebuchadnezzar summons Daniel to interpret recurring dreams he was having. When the king asks whether Daniel can interpret dreams, Daniel responds with the following:

“No wise man, enchanter, magician, or diviner can explain to the king the mystery that he has asked about, but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries. He has shown King Nebuchadnezzar what will happen in days to come. Your dream and the visions that passed through your mind as you lay on your bed are these…” (Daniel 2: 27-28).

In this passage, Daniel neither took credit for the ability to interpret dreams, nor did he shy away from sharing that it was God who truly granted this ability. Rather, Daniel was able to use the situation and gift that God had blessed him with to point others towards God!

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Second, we must remember to thank God. Remember the story about Jesus and the 10 lepers (as I child, I may or may not have thought that Sunday school teachers said “leopards”… resulting in me imagining weird half-leopard, half-human creatures)? In this passage from Luke 17, Jesus heals the 10 men and they run off to show themselves to the priests.

“One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him — and he was a Samaritan” (Luke 17: 17).

(Side note: I’ll be honest in saying that as I reread this passage while typing this post, I just realized that this man was a Samaritan. I think I have an even-deeper appreciation for this passage now).

We read from Luke’s record that there were 10 men who had the horrid disease called leprosy. Although all the men were healed, only one praised and thanked Jesus for what he had done. All throughout Scripture, it is written how deserving God is of our praise.

“Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations” (Psalm 100).

Regardless of whether or not we witness God perform a miracle, He is deserving of our praise. Truly, all credit and glory belongs to Him. However, when God does answer our prayers, we should present Him with prayers and songs of thanksgiving.

As we go throughout life, we’re going to encounter many different situations. Some of which may be good, others, not so much. However, we can have hope in knowing that our trust is in a perfect Father whose plans are greater than anything we could orchestrate. And when we see miracles happen, we must remember where all credit and glory lies — with Him.

2 thoughts on “Overflowing with joy”

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