Crossroads: How Can We Find Joy in the Lord?

Isaiah 58:9b-14

Your Story

Talk about a time when you felt joy in the Lord—that is, when you knew you were doing what God wanted you to do and you were satisfied in the Lord. What were the circumstances? How did it change your perspective?

My Story and the Bible Story

There are days when I feel close to God and days when I don’t. There are days when I absolutely know that I am following God and doing what God wants me to do, and there are days when I’m a bit unsure. But every summer, I find my joy in the Lord during Vacation Bible School. Seeing the excitement on the faces of the children as they sing praises to God reminds me of my own joy and excitement in the Lord. Seeing how generous our children are toward others who need help reminds me of how generous God is to every one of us. Seeing the Bible stories come to the life for these kids reminds me of how the stories have come to life for me. Many times, I find my joy in the Lord by serving others. I find my joy when I help others, when I teach them about God, and when I share God’s love with them. As I read Isaiah 58, it makes sense that I find my joy in the Lord when I am serving others.

Read Isaiah 58:9b-14.

How can we find joy in the Lord? According to Isaiah, we find it by helping the hungry and oppressed and by honoring the Lord. Simply put, we find it by loving God and by loving others (the two greatest commandments according to Jesus). When we do these things, Isaiah tells us that the Lord will guide us always. God will satisfy our needs and help us rebuild. We find our joy by following the Lord. We discover a joy greater than ourselves when we commit to loving the Lord. When we talk to God and when we listen, when we follow and honor God, then we will find joy.

Joy isn’t the same thing as happiness. We are happy when something good happens to us or around us. But joy, especially the joy of the Lord, is deeper. It happens when our souls are satisfied. The joy of the Lord means that no matter what happens, we know that God is with us. In tough times, we may not have a smile on our faces, but we have a smile in our souls because we know that God will take care of us. We know that God will guide us and will satisfy our needs. This week, focus on the joy of the Lord. Find ways to love God and to love others. When you do, Isaiah promises that you will find your joy in the Lord!

Discussion and Prayer

1. Ask your family to talk about times when they feel close to God. When are the times that they feel closest to God?
2. Talk about ways that you can help the needy this week. (Maybe you can help serve food to homeless people. Perhaps you can donate clothes to a shelter. Maybe you can volunteer at a senior center. Think of creative ways that you can help.)
3. Choose one way to help others this week. Afterward, debrief with your family. Talk about what you learned and how you felt.
4. Pray, thanking God for giving us joy. Ask for help in following God and finding ways to honor God.

Rev. Jessica Asbell is the Minister to Children and Families at First Baptist Roswell, where she has been serving since 2012. She has written the children’s curriculum for Smyth & Helwys’s Annual Bible Study for the books of Daniel; Ezekiel; Luke; Jonah; 1 Corinthians; 1, 2, 3 John and Jude; Colossians; The Story of Israel’s Ancestors: Living toward a Promise; and Where Faith & Family Meet: A Book of Weekly Devotions. She has also written for CBF’s Spark and Form and for Affect in CBF’s fellowship! magazine. Married to Jonathan Oravec, Jessica reads every chance she gets.

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