In college I struggled with depression. There were times when I felt so alone, worthless, and sad. My roller coaster of emotions left me feeling broken. I can't even remember how many times I prayed to God to take away my depression. I couldn't tell you how often I looked at verses like John 16:24 that says:
Guys, as soon as I realized that my life took a turn for the better. I'm not saying that my depression was gone overnight - to be honest I still go through bouts of it - but I am saying that each day that I spent seeking God things got brighter.
In that moment of realization I decided to seek God more. I decided to read my Bible more, and I decided to write down the moments of God's blessings in a journal each day. And when I did that I noticed that the sad, lonely, bad moments of the day were overshadowed by the exponentially better moments.
Now, 6 years later, I still have to remind myself in times of depression: How can I expect to have genuine joy if I am not making an effort to strengthen my relationship with the source of true joy?
I'm not saying that I never have a bad day or that you or I will never be sad again. In saying that God gives true joy it doesn't mean life will be sunshine and rainbows all the time. On the contrary, read James 1:2-3, Psalm 27:6, and John 16:22. Sorrow and hard times still happen, but we have the assurance that God is with us.
The dictionary provides the following synonym for joy: rejoicing.
Isn't that the perfect word to describe real joy?
True joy is found in a heart that seeks God and rejoices in His goodness and constant presence no matter the circumstances.
Here's a song by Rend Collective that says - in a much more elegant, concise way - what I am trying to say. Enjoy!