By: Dr. Suzanne Laidlaw
We all remember the moment the acceptance letter came. We could finally say “I am a veterinary student!” And then one day, a veterinarian. All the studying, volunteer hours, jobs and worrying had finally paid off. For many of us, the feeling of joy that we felt in that moment is still remembered vividly and fondly.
Now fast forward to your second year in practice. The cases are lined up, the files piled up, the clients are sometimes ungrateful or worse, the staff is often upset. This moment, for many of us, couldn’t feel any further away from that original moment of joy when we were first accepted to school. It’s simply overwhelming.
In my experience, joy can be an elusive and confusing emotion. It comes and goes and is often, if not always, directly correlated to the situation I am in. I contrast this though with the stories in the Bible, when the authors speak of peace and joy in moments of significant trial and difficulty.
In Philippians 1, Paul several times rejoices while in prison as he still has opportunity to share of Jesus Christ. How can that be? Joy in prison?
How do you embrace the times when joy seems so distant?
I believe that the answer to this question lies in the character of God; and one characteristic in particular. Consistency. Many of us will know the verse, “I am the same yesterday, today and forever,” Hebrews 13:8. For a moment just take in what this means.
We live in a very inconsistent world, with constant change and instability. I change daily. Hourly. I have moods and emotions and changes of heart and mind. It’s part of being human. We’re imperfect. This makes it very difficult for us to fully comprehend what a truly unchanging and consistent God He really is.
But it’s true. Imagine. Our God is one who has made promises and decisions before there was even time – and has not wavered or changed. And never will.
Wow. He said it – and it is. And it’s that simple.
If God is our true source of Joy. And God is consistent. Then Joy is consistent and always available to us. It is something we can find in ANY situation – if we simply look for God as our source of Joy.
I am reminded of the verse “Be still and know that I am God” Psalm 46:10. To me, this verse speaks of Joy. It speaks of taking a moment, when things are not “still”, to realize that God is there; and to consider who He is; and His promises to us in Hebrews 13:5; “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you”. In those moments of considering God and his character – we can find great Joy.
Joy is not a symptom of your situation. Whether you’ve just received an acceptance letter, or you’re feeling overwhelmed by your workload- you can have the same Joy. Just be still and take a moment to consider God and all that He is.
“Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice!” Philippians 4:4