Life is Joy—And What To Do About It
Earlier this week, I blogged about the inevitable reality that life is pain, and that we have only two options in that regard: to suffer, or to suffer with Christ. It's as true now as it was days ago, as it was months ago, as it was two thousand years ago . . . but that doesn't mean there aren't other facts of life that are equally true as well.
Life is joy, for example.
A contradiction? I think not.
It's the kind of paradox that can only exist within the infinity that is God. Because of sin and a broken world, we will suffer in this life, and we do. But God is so present in our day-to-day lives and the glory of creation around us that we are also placed in position of incredible beauty, and we must savour that. We must enjoy that. Life is as much joy as it is pain . . . we just tend to miss the former in the shadow of the latter.
My devotion this morning encouraged me to enjoy the life God has given me, and I admit, my first thought was: "Wait. Am I allowed to do that?"
It was a stupid thought. God and Jesus are the givers of joy, the very bottomless fountain of it. Yes, we broke the world God made for us, and yes, we now suffer as a result, but He still didn't abandon us there. Every day, he surrounds us with beauty and love and wonders and blessings—His glorious creation, always changing, His presence, always near, His love, always blazing for us. We have so much to find joy in.
And we should find joy in it. No, we must. As Christians, we have more to rejoice in than anyone—the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, for one, and his eternal presence with us, for another! Our pain can coexist with joy in a beautiful paradox God has constructed to lighten our burdens and strengthen our hearts as we march through life's difficulties. He endowed us with a capacity for sparkling exultation—wasted when we keep our heads down, seeing only the pain we're trudging through.
Keep your head up today. Enjoy. God called the sun over the east horizon to shine through your window today. He brushed your face with the whiskers of the warm August wind. He smiled at you through the stranger you passed in the office and serenaded you through that oh-so-timely song that played on the radio this morning.
Pain will always wait for us as long as we live here, in a broken world. We don't have to look for it. But joy—joy is infinitely more precious, and like everything in life of true value, it requires effort. Joy can be missed, so let's not miss it. Joy can be overshadowed, so let's pull back the dreary curtains of our worries and let it pour in, a glorious act of defiance against trials and pain and brokenness.
Life is pain. Fine. Bring it on, world.
Because no matter what, with Jesus, life can still—and always—be JOY.
Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice. ~ Philippians 4:4
The joy of the Lord is your strength. ~Nehemia 8:10b
Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice. ~Psalm 63:7
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