Whenever I’ve been in the presence of dying people who are secure in their destination after death – heaven, I’m always in awe of their peace and joy. Even at funerals or memorial services joy abounds amongst those who live with an assurance of Christ Jesus in their lives. It’s comforting. I’ve also felt the hopelessness of those grieving who live in darkness and know not the truth of Jesus. Those funerals are hard to attend.
We live in a time – a culture where living a life of continual joy seems impossible. So instead we often seek it’s substitute – temporary earthly happiness. Happiness enticements are the misguided promises – money and fame that will never deliver because this world is temporary. Our inner most beings cry out for lasting contentment which only God’s redemptive grace is able to provide. God’s lasting contentment however requires us to look at our vast inner landscape and the complexities of our interior soul and confront it. It requires time and a dedicated focus that engorged schedules and cultural enticements distract us from doing. It takes gut wrenching courage. It’s not something that’s high on our bucket list and we are masters of denial and avoidance.
When we find the truth of Jesus, we experience the joy of a union – the wedding of our soul to His. But staying in love with Him – creating space for Him daily in our hearts and lives, takes determination, sacrifice and sometimes even suffering. It’s in the grief of suffering that joy abounds. God’s perfect love and peace is is given space to flood in and engulf us. When we relinquish ourselves – die to self, something surprising happens. We begin to be joyously alive. Momentary happiness doesn’t matter knowing that joy – real joy lasts for eternity. Dying then for the believer is no longer fearful but joyous.
Want real joy not just temporary happiness? Seek Jesus with all your heart and mind. Strip away earthly temporary desires and find ways to give to others and ultimately God. Watch joy emerge, life flourish, and peace abound in the most difficult of situations.
John 16:22 (NIV) So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.