Crossroads: Joy

Isaiah 35:1-10

Your Story

Talk about a time when you felt joy during a difficult circumstance.

My Story and the Bible Story

There’s a catchy song on the radio about how God makes diamonds out of dust (Hawk Nelson, “Diamonds,” 2015). God takes the dustiness of our lives—the mistakes and the bad things that happen to us—and uses them to make diamonds. In order for coal to turn into diamonds, it must undergo a lot of pressure. But then it turns into something beautiful! Something like this can happen to us. In our lives, the pressure may be hard situations or circumstances, sad things that happen, or even just the ordinary time when things are not very exciting. There are times when we are happy or sad, times when we want to sing, and times when we are mad. But whatever happens, God can make something beautiful, and the joy of the Lord can be our strength. God helps us get through everything that happens. Even though we may not feel happy, we choose to have joy because we know that God is there, and God is bigger than anything that happens to us. Joy is the emotion of great delight or happiness, but it’s deeper than just being happy. We take delight in God because God saves us. We trust that God delights in us and loves us, and we bring God joy as well. Have you ever thought about that? You bring God joy.

Read Isaiah 35:1-10.

What a picture! Everything will burst into bloom. The wilderness will shout for joy. God will come! The blind will see and the deaf will hear. The physically disabled will leap and those who cannot speak will shout for joy. The burning sand will become a pool. And the redeemed will have everlasting joy crowning their heads. “Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.” Right now, we have joy because of God. We can delight in knowing that God saves us and that someday we will always be with God. But there are times when it’s hard to have joy. There are times when terrible things happen and it’s hard to be joyful. But Jesus came and brought hope of a new tomorrow, peace, and joy. We have been redeemed! We can have joy because of Jesus and because we know that God is always there, will give us strength when we need it, and loves us no matter what happens. Remember that the joy of the Lord is your strength. God is always there for you. As we light the Advent candle of Joy, we remember the joy that God gives us.

Discussion and Prayer

  1. Ask your children to talk about a tough situation they have faced. Talk about ways we can choose joy when difficult things happen (for example, we can pray and ask God for help, we can try to find something good in a situation, and we can remind ourselves of how much God loves us).
  2. Talk about how happiness is a feeling we get when something good happens to us and how we choose to have joy no matter what happens.
  3. How can you share God’s joy with someone this week?
  4. Pray, asking God to help you be joyful in every situation and to remind you of God’s presence.

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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