Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Sunny Side Up

I put a little reminder in my kitchen to keep my sunny side up.

Life is grand, life is full of blessings, but life is admittedly difficult much of the time.  Often circumstances or people in our life will try to take us down and rob us of our joy.  Those are the times when we have to intentionally find it and choose it.

That is not to say we don't ache.  Or deal with confusion and hurt.  Or cry.  The Bible is clear in Ecclesiastes 3 that there is a time to laugh, but also a time to weep.  I absolutely love the end of Psalm 30 verse 5 where it says, "Weeping may endure for a night, But joy comes in the morning."  We have all cried ourselves to sleep, and in the darkness of the night come face to face with our deepest hurts and fears.  But there is something about that morning sunlight and the start of a fresh, new day that mercifully streams in a balm of joy amidst the tears.

I think that is one reason that the older I get, the more of a morning person I am becoming.  In the quietness of morning when the rest of my house is sleeping and the only sounds are dripping coffee and birdsong, I find delight in watching the early sun come through the windows and cast lines and shadows around my home.  I can talk to God, spend time in His Word, and start fresh with joy, no matter what the day before held and what this new day may hold.  Life guarantees stress, but in those first sunbeams there is serenity.  I often find my heart going this verse...

Lamentation 3:22-23

Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, 
for His compassions never fail. 
They are new every morning; 
great is Your faithfulness.

The thing about possessing joy and keeping our sunny side up is that is has to come from within.  There is a definite difference between happiness and joy.  The difficult circumstances or people in life may bring unhappiness.  But the great paradox is that even through times of sadness or major challenges, we can still possess joy because of those daily, faithful mercies, and through spending time with God.  One of my very favorite passages is Psalm 16:11....

You will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasure forevermore.

There is nothing that will bring abiding joy like spending time in the presence of God!  There is nothing like the fullness you will experience there, or the peace and rest you will find as He reveals His faithfulness, both in the best and worst of times.  I have always loved His Word, but I become ever more passionate about it the further into life I get, because it is my anchor as I face life's sunshine and storms. God's Word is powerful, constant, true.  It changes lives.  It has changed mine.

So each morning as the sunlight streams through your windows, rest in the truth that no matter what you are facing you can still find peace, mercy, joy.  Even in those seasons of life where you cry so much you think it is impossible to cry more but the tears keep coming, you can find joy.  It comes in the morning.  It comes with His daily mercies.  It comes in His presence.  It is full there.  There is nothing like His joy.

It's a new day, friends!  Hold on to Him.  And keep your sunny side up.


Psalm 100:1-2

Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth. 
Worship the LORD with gladness; 
come before Him with joyful songs.

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