You have heard that the joy of the Lord is your strength.1 How do you get this joy? By loving Me with all your heart, with all your mind, with all your strength, and by loving others. As long as you have a heart of love—love for Me and love for others—I will fill you with My joy and peace.
In God in the Dock, C.S. Lewis included an essay entitled “Answers to Questions on Christianity.” One of the questions is on which of the religions of the world gives to its followers the greatest happiness, and he gave this famous reply:
Who would have thought that I’d be writing an article on the topic of happiness and satisfaction after everything that we have been through this year due to the COVID-19 virus? After having experienced so much insecurity and uncertainty in the air, how could that be a time to think about happiness?
Inspiration infuses you with renewed zest for life. It influences, moves, or guides you to action. But we all have times when we hit the inspiration skids; when we not only lack inspiration but might even doubt that we’ll ever feel inspired again.
Here’s a great verse: “The people of Judah and Israel were as numerous as the sand on the seashore; they ate, they drank and they were happy.”1
I have years of Bible study and learning under my belt, but I’m not sure I’ve heard this verse before. At least, its meaning has always slipped past me.
In spite of every indication that there are difficult times ahead, I’m excited about this new year! I’m enthusiastic about striving for new goals and pushing myself beyond what I think I’m capable of. The noun “enthusiasm” comes from the Greek word enthousiasmos, from enthous, meaning “possessed by a god, inspired.” And interestingly, it was originally used in a derogatory sense to describe excessive religious zeal.
Many adults have looked at a child blissfully enjoying playtime, and have, for a moment, wished they were children again. They look so peaceful, so happy, with hardly a care in the world. Children laugh easily, they enjoy what they do, and they get excited about the simplest things. They generally have minor, temporary worries that rarely last more than a few minutes or an hour. They likely spend so much more time than you do just being happy and engaged.
In his book describing years of veterinary work in the harsh Yorkshire Dales of England, James Herriot tells the story of Tip, a sheepdog at a local farm. He first encountered Tip one freezing morning, when he walked up to the farmhouse door, looking for the owner. Suddenly, from under a pile of snow at the foot of the door, Tip emerged, cheery and full of excitement. James was shocked, and later asked the farmer why the old dog was left outside.
As I was skimming headlines on an online news website, I saw this headline: “He’s a Fighter: Guo Youming Won’t Succumb to Rare Disease.” Intrigued, I clicked on the article and started reading Guo Youming’s incredible story.
As a child, his mother noticed that he walked unsteadily and had frequent falls. His condition worsened until he was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy at age seven.
On a late Saturday afternoon, traffic crawled towards the congested, narrow intersection in the large metropolis. Pedestrians zigzagged through the lanes. Lines of cars were pulling out of one of the busiest shopping malls, adding a strain to the already overcrowded junction. With no traffic lights or traffic controllers around, the traffic quickly became deadlocked.