If you want {JOY} you can –

The Joy of the Lord is My strength!

A song we actually sang in church in the 70s – it was fairly lightweight, but song leaders loved it because they could add all sort of weird verses to it.  The main pattern was this

The joy of the Lo-o-ord is my strength!

The joy of the Lo-o-ord is my strength!

The joy of the Lo-o-ord is my strength!

O, the joy of the Lord is my strength!

Can you imagine the fun you can have with that syntax?

Verse 2, everybody now:

If you want joy you can jump for it [make the whole congregation jump here]

If you want joy you can jump for it!

If you want joy you can jump for it!

O, the joy of the Lord is my strength!

Then they came up with these clever, congregation-engaging verses: “If you want joy you can spin for it,” whereupon people with vertigo went down for the count.

My personal favorite was the verse, “If you want joy you can laugh for it,” followed by a verse where, to the tune of the song, we all, young and old alike. were heard singing:

Ha, haha, haha, haha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!

There must have been 10-12 embarrassing verses.  You can imagine the glory.

Not sure why that popped into my brain?  Maybe because the JOY of the LORD is my strength!  So I have to pretty much live on a joy-quest.  And I do love me some Habakkuk who painted that picture of what life and joy-robbing circumstances really are  like sometimes (3:17-18 NKJV):

Though the fig tree may not blossom,

Nor fruit be on the vines;

Though the labor of the olive may fail,

And the fields yield no food;

Though the flock may be cut off from the fold,

And there be no herd in the stalls—

Yet I will rejoice in the Lord,

I will *joy in the God of my salvation.

And that word *JOY is gil, #1523 in the Strong’s, and it means to joy, rejoice, be glad, be joyful and contains, according to my study Bible’s notes (Jack Hayford’s Spirit-Filled Life Bible) the suggestion of “dancing for joy” or “leaping for joy,” since the verb originally meant “to spin around with intense emotion.”

Kind of dispels the notion that “inner joy” is just this calm, serene, ever-present half smile of knowing, doesn’t it?  Joy seems a bit more raucous, active, participatory.  It is us, in the face of the toughest circumstances dancing and leaping and praising God and making joy happen.

No blossoms on the tree which is supposed to provide sustenance for us?  I will joy

No fruit?  After all my hard work?  I will joy!

My intense labor over the olives is a great, big fail?  I will joy!

My entire field has no food and dang, I am hungry…yet, I will rejoice…I will joy in the God of my salvation.

So it turns out that silly song wasn’t that far off the mark.  If you want joy – you can jump for it!  Or leap or spin around with intense emotion.  A song of my life.

I will {JOY} in the God of my salvation!

pictured:  Amelie Belle

 

 

 

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