Where is the Joy?

It was time to organize the stuff in the trunk of my car. I made sure the spare tire looked O.K. and situated the small First Aid kit. Into a box marked “winter” went the extra blanket, boots, windshield scraper, and jumper cables. Can you tell I live in Minnesota?

But as I closed the trunk, I thought how everything I carried was for those just-in-case challenging travel scenarios. What about packing some things for joy-filled activities? So, I found my old tennis racket and stopped to buy tennis balls and an inexpensive basketball to add to my trunk collection. And I began to stop occasionally at a park after work to hit tennis balls and attempt shooting some baskets. It was wonderful to have equipment for enjoyment rather than only just-in-case items for weather challenges.

This got me thinking about what I carried for my spiritual journey. I had a lot for “just in case” backup measures for those times when I needed help—calling out to God because I know He hears and answers, Scripture to comfort, and the prayer chain among friends. But where was my joy?

While thinking about this, I was drawn to Aksah. Her story is recorded in Joshua 15:13–19 and retold in Judges 1:12–15 (in case we missed it). Aksah is Caleb’s daughter, the Caleb who with Joshua spied out the Promised Land. Years after their expedition, when the Israelites were settling in their new territories, Aksah was also given land. Her portion happened to be desert land.

With confidence, she replied to her father: “Do me a special favor. Since you have given me land in the Negev, give me also springs of water” (Judges 1:15). Caleb not only granted this request; he gave her the upper and lower springs—springs for wherever her journey took her.

In John 7: 37–38, Jesus declared: “. . . Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” He was speaking about His Holy Spirit’s filling, one of the fruits of which is joy (see Galatians 5:22–23).

On our life journeys, including walking through challenging desert seasons, Jesus invites us to receive springs of joy. “Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete” (John 16:24).

Dear Lord Jesus, thank you for being our Savior, redeemer, guide, and strength. In our life journeys, deserts included, Lord, will you also fill us with your Spirit and cause springs of joy to flow? Amen.

Karen Gustafson

Karen Gustafson

Karen has served with The Christian and Missionary Alliance in a variety of ministries over the past several decades—from outreach in south Minneapolis to missions work in Argentina for 18 years. She serves on the Alliance Board of Directors and has been a professor of psychology at Crown College since 2007. Her all-time favorite activity is hanging out with people and learning their stories.

Four Responses to “Where is the Joy?”

  1. I am so behind on emails I am pulling an “all-nighter” to catch up and this came at the perfect moment-in-life-journey for this old lady. Thank you, friend Karen, for letting God use you to speak into my life SPECIFICALLY for this very early morning hour. Off to sleep…full of His joy.

  2. Karen, Thank you for sharing! What a beautiful & joyful reminder to embrace The Cornerstone wherein flows the springs of life! His Salvation is forever!
    Says The Lord!

  3. LOVED this!

    I especially liked that it was so positive and practical. Loved the scripture connections.

    Thank you, Karen!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *