Cultivating Joy

It’s an easy pattern to fall into.  Letting circumstances dictate our joy.

And the soil of circumstance can be pretty darn rocky.






We plan our days, our months, our years–and fill them with all of those things we think will bring us joy.

But our plans just don’t always go the way we thought they would.  The soil becomes dry, cracked, hard.

Our joy is choked out by difficulty. By grief. Struggle. Heartache…

He knows, friend.

“So why doesn’t He do something?”, you say.

He does.  He can.  He will.

“Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort. He comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any kind of affliction, through the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” 2 Corinthians 1:2-3-4

 The apostle Paul was writing these verses to those who were suffering–many because they had committed their lives to following Christ.  

“Now we have this treasure in clay jars, so that this extraordinary power may be from God and not from us. We are pressured in every way but not crushed; we are perplexed but not in despair; we are persecuted but not abandoned; we are struck down but not destroyed.  We always carry the death of Jesus in our body, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.”  2 Corinthians 4:7-10 

Clay jars were practical.  Useful.


The Potter molds us and makes us into vessels that He can use.  Each one unique.  Each one valuable.

The most basic need of the human race, life-giving water can be carried in one of these jars to those who are sick, or hurting, or

just thirsty.

Our humble bodies might be as fragile as clay, but even with kinks and cracks, broken vessels can be used to extend a cup of cold water in His name.

Those seeds need more than soil.  They need life-giving water to nourish and grow.

And sometimes when our soil is dry, we just need someone else to come along and provide the water.

Or maybe we need to be that someone. To be a source of joy and hope and comfort.  A refreshing reminder that God loves us and that even when life is hard and our circumstances are not what we would have chosen, we can still trust Him.  Looking to Him, we can find the promise of a better tomorrow.  And in the meantime, while we wait–we can be a usable vessel,

“…that the life of Jesus might be revealed” through us.

In our vocabulary the transition word “but” is often followed by an excuse.  “I was going to [______], but [_______] happened.”  “I would [_____], BUT…”  I love that in these verses the word transitions to hope.  Read it again.  Life is hard sometimes.  Circumstances are not always pleasant.


He is still in control.  He sees where we are, and He will use those circumstances to teach us, use us, and even help us to grow closer to Him if we let them.

“How happy is the man
who does not follow the advice of the wicked
or take the path of sinners
or join a group of mockers!

 Instead, his delight is in the Lord’s instruction,
and he meditates on it day and night.
He is like a tree planted beside streams of water
that bears its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither. 
Whatever he does prospers.” Psalm 1:1-3

Psalm 1

Be encouraged today, friend.  Look to the Word.  Trust His promises.  Be faithful anyway.

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