“…and those the LORD has rescued will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.”- Isaiah 35:10
Recently, I’ve discovered Bob Ross on Netflix. You may ask, “who’s Bob Ross?” I’m glad you asked. Bob Ross was an American painter, art instructor, and television host. He was widely known as the creator and host of The Joy of Painting, an instructional television program that aired from 1983 to 1994 on PBS in the United States and around the world.
When I used to work shift-work back in the 80’s, I would come home and tune in to Bob’s thirty minute episodes where he would take a completely white canvas and in that short span of time, turn it into one of the most beautiful works of art such as the one seen above.
The one thing that Bob was known for besides his permed hair, was his gentle voice which would guide you and invite you into his world while he gently guided his brushes until his masterpiece was complete. You see, Bob served in the U.S. Army as a master sergeant which is where he acquired his love and joy for painting. He developed his quick-painting technique to create art for sale during brief daily work breaks. Having held military positions that required him to be, in his own words, “tough” and “mean”, “the guy who makes you scrub the latrine, the guy who makes you make your bed, the guy who screams at you for being late to work”, Ross decided that if he ever left the military, he would never scream again.
It’s so cool to see someone enjoy what they do so much and use the gifts, talents and abilities that God placed within them to bring joy into the lives of others. I’ve said it many times and will continue that I believe God has given and placed talents and abilities within every single human being that have been given to serve Him through serving others. And when you discover what those gifts are and begin excising them and sharing them with others, your life will take on new meaning and you will never be the same.
Sadly though, many people aren’t experiencing the joy in their lives today that the Bible says we can know and have. Nehemiah 8:10 says that the “joy of the Lord is our strength”.
To know true joy, you have to know the author and creator of it. You see many people confuse happiness with joy. Happiness is temporary – you’re sad, you’re happy – you’re hot, you’re cold – see how it works. Happiness depends on circumstances while joy depends on what’s inside you – what and most important – who you know is inside you and faith that He is always with you and is working for your good in ALL circumstances.
As the angel of the Lord spoke to the shepherds the night Jesus was born in Luke’s gospel, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.
My friend, may you know this JOY this Christmas season as you look to the Savior of the world that is the author of your life and mine. And may you also keep this JOY in your heart from this day forth as you seek Him in all you do.
Truly, there can be Joy in the Journey!