In the many challenges we face in the world today it is hard to believe that we are on the earth to have Joy!
An ancient Prophet said, “Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.” (2 Nephi 2: 25 in the Book of Mormon)
How do we Find Joy
President Russell Nelson said, “These are the latter days, so none of us should be surprised when we see prophecy fulfilled. A host of prophets foresaw that perilous times would come, that in our day the whole world would be in commotion, that men would be lovers of their own selves, … without natural affection, … lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God, (see 2 Timothy 3: 2-4 in the Bible).
As conflicts between nations escalate, as cowardly terrorists prey on the innocent, and as corruption in everything from business to government becomes increasingly commonplace, what can help us? What can help each of us with our personal struggles and with the rigorous challenge of living in these latter days?
Joy Has Everything to Do with the Focus of our Lives
“The joy we feel has little to do with the circumstances of our lives and everything to do with the focus of our lives. Just as the Savior offers peace that ‘passeth all understanding,’ He also offers an intensity, depth, and breadth of joy that defy human logic or mortal comprehension. For example, it doesn’t seem possible to feel joy when your child suffers with an incurable illness or when you lose your job or when your spouse betrays you. Yet that is precisely the joy the Savior offers. His joy is constant, assuring us that our ‘afflictions shall be but a small moment’ and be consecrated to our gain (see Doctrine and Covenants 121: 7)
How, then, can we claim that joy? We can start by “looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith” “in every thought.” We can give thanks for Him in our prayers and by keeping covenants we’ve made with Him and our Heavenly Father. As our Savior becomes more and more real to us and as we plead for His joy to be given to us, our joy will increase.
“Joy is powerful, and focusing on joy brings God’s power into our lives. As in all things, Jesus Christ is our ultimate exemplar, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross. Think of that! In order for Him to endure the most excruciating experience ever endured on earth, our Savior focused on joy!
And what was the joy that was set before Him? Surely it included the joy of cleansing, healing, and strengthening us; the joy of paying for the sins of all who would repent; the joy of making it possible for you and me to return home—clean and worthy—to live with our Heavenly Father and families.
If we focus on the joy that will come to us, or to those we love, what can we endure that presently seems overwhelming, painful, scary, unfair, or simply impossible?
Anything that opposes Christ or His doctrine will interrupt our joy. That includes the philosophies of men, so abundant online and in the blogosphere.
“If we look to the world and follow its formulas for happiness, we will never know joy. The unrighteous may experience any number of emotions and sensations, but they will never experience joy! Joy is a gift for the faithful. It is the gift that comes from intentionally trying to live a righteous life, as taught by Jesus Christ.
He taught us how to have joy. When we choose Heavenly Father to be our God and when we can feel the Savior’s Atonement working in our lives, we will be filled with joy. Every time we nurture our spouse and guide our children, every time we forgive someone or ask for forgiveness, we can feel joy.
Heed these words of the Psalmist: ‘I have set the Lord always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. … In [His] presence is fulness of joy.’ ((Psalm 16: 8 & 11 in the Bible) As this principle is embedded in our hearts, each and every day can be a day of joy and gladness.”
The Savior Said to His Apostles
“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14: 27 in the Bible)
The peace the Savior refers to is the sense of well-being and serenity that comes from keeping His commandments and having the Spirit of the Holy Ghost with us.