When preparing a talk recently, it struck me how many wonderful passages there are in the Bible around the theme of joy. For example:
The Lord your God is with you,
the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
but will rejoice over you with singing. Zephaniah 3 verse 17
I find it encouraging that Father God rejoices over us – and with singing (or even dancing as one interpretation suggests!). However, as we learn from the Bible, God’s nature includes joyfulness. Even, God’s creation reflects the nature of the creator, as we discover from this, and many other passages:
You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and hills will burst into song before you,
and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. Isaiah 55 verse 12
Yet, as Christians, we often experience a journey that is punctuated with trials and testing. However, at times like these we understand God to be compassionate, empathetic and someone who brings comfort.
Shout for joy, you heavens;
rejoice, you earth;
burst into song, you mountains!
For the Lord comforts his people –
and will have compassion on his afflicted ones. Isaiah 49 verse 13
As we move into a New Year,
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15 verse 13
Andy McPherson, vicar