You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound. Psalm 4:7
Have you ever ridden on a carousel where the operator, at some point, drops down a metal arm toward the riders and a brass ring drops toward its end? The riders on the outside stretch and strive to grasp that brass ring. The prize? A free ride to the one person who can attain that ring. I think that’s how I was looking at joy for many years. Not only from a grasping and striving point of view but from a scarcity mindset. There’s only one ring and lots of riders. You have to be on one of the outside animals to even have a chance. And once the ring is taken by a rider, your chance is gone. I searched in earnest many years for joy. How to attain it and how to hold on to it. And what I discovered is that joy, freely given in abundance by God, is right in front of me for the taking.
Praise God that His joy, unlike the joy the world offers, comes freely and is never ending. It is available to all. In the carousel world, as we spin around and around, we can choose the outer seat or even one of the animals constantly moving up and down, never finding rest. But how about instead we pick one of the colorful, stable sleds? And sitting there on the bench as we take our seat is a replenishing bucket full of shiny joy rings. Not just one free ride but endless opportunities for laughter and cooling breezes hitting our face as we go round and round.
God’s joy is available to everyone, not just the chosen few. It’s there for the taking when we sit nestled in the promises and gifts of His Holy Word. We pick up a ring from the bucket each time and hand it to the operator saying, “let’s ride!” All the while we watch the outer edge riders stretching for the measly gifts of the world.
The thing about riding a carousel is we carefully pick which animal or sleigh to ride when we jump up to the main stage. We are drawn to the exciting and the colorful, to the chance to grasp the ring. Isn’t that like the world? The bells and whistles of the flesh pull us to stretch for even more? To search for a bigger and better brass ring? But God says, “Come and rest and I will fill your bucket overflowing with joy.” All we need to do is choose Him.