I want this kind of JOY!

Can you use some genuine joy in your life? A joy which can’t be quenched? A peace that can’t be taken? A happiness which can’t be threatened? There is such a joy. It is a sacred delight, a holy gladness. It comes from God and is within your reach. 
— Max Lucado: from The Applause of Heaven

Jaime and I were walking the streets of Atlanta, GA one night while at a teacher conference. We were holding hands, talking about our day from the conference, and searching restaurants that sounded good to eat. We came across one place, opened the door, and walked in with big smiles on our faces. No one came for a couple of minutes so we just waited patiently. With the restaurant pretty empty, we felt good this would be the place that would delight every taste bud we had. Finally, a lady walked up, looked us up and down, and said to us, “I’m sorry but we do not have any available seats.” Jaime and I just looked at each other and walked out. Jaime noticed what I noticed. Our joy was sucked right out of us. Granted, I was not dressed-up real nice. (Notice I said me.) I was mad. I was sad. I was hungry. I was “hangry!" I wanted to go back into that place and sit down at all of the free tables I just saw. Instead, Jaime insisted we go to a different place and not let it ruin our evening.

We finally found a new place to eat. We finished our meal and headed back down the Atlanta streets. All of sudden we heard someone singing. It was really pretty so we just kept walking to the end of the block where it was coming from. As we got to the end of the street, there stood a homeless African American woman with a grocery basket of just a few personal items valued at ten dollars, tops. The woman stood there with a smile that lit up all of Atlanta, Georgia. This homeless lady was filled with so much joy that I instantly felt guilty at how I was acting one hour earlier. I had just eaten a fifty dollar meal, was staying in a huge hotel, and I was on a date with my beautiful wife. Joy for me should have been overflowing and it should have been me singing that song.

Psalms 33:1 “You who are godly, sing with joy to the Lord.” 

I ask myself a lot, “Why do I let people or Satan rob me of my joy?” I am in control of my emotions, actions, and words. I have the ability to forgive and to let go. I do not need to worry about what I do not have and focus on the things God has blessed me with. Why do I do it? Maybe at times in your life, you can relate to this too. Let’s work on giving instead of griping. Let’s choose to sing instead of sinning. Let’s walk hand in hand with Jesus, instead of holding on to things we can’t have. I want to be like the homeless woman. I want to always smile and sing with joy for the whole world to hear. Her basket was almost empty but her heart was completely full. Can you hear her voice?

The song she was singing was:

Why should I feel discouraged, why should the shadows come, Why should my heart be lonely, and long for heaven and home, When Jesus is my portion? My constant friend is He: His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me. 
I sing because I’m happy, I sing because I’m free, For His eye is on the sparrow, And I know He watches me.
— Hymn, “His Eye is on the Sparrow”

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