One of the great gifts of life is to find joy in the midst of personal suffering and chaos. Imperfection can become a friend to the suffering heart because it can move us to places we wouldn’t choose to go. This journey can drive us toward something greater and allow us to find true satisfaction of heart, mind, and soul.
Our bodies will most assuredly run their course. Our minds will be stilled. But what about the spirit inside each one of us? What happens to our soul? Does it end when we take our last breath, or are we then just beginning our journey?
Jesus commented on this when He said “of what lasting use is it to a man if he acquires everything the world has to offer and loses his own soul?” The answer? If we miss the joy offered to us through neglecting our deeper parts, it is tragic beyond words. One soul. One life. One opportunity. God passionately encourages us to find true joy.
It is heart-wrenching to watch the process of death. Pain. Grief. Regret. I have witnessed this many times, and I’m always surprised by the clarity which occurs. The deep love-words of family. The recounting of a person’s impact. The day to day connections each experienced in his or hers own journey. What are the implications from the God Story? Many of us will stand before our Creator-Savior and hear the words “well done, enter into the joy of your Master.” Many will not.
The Psalms are filled with mentions of joy – usually contrasted with trouble and turbulence such as “restore to me the joy of Your salvation and sustain me with a willing spirit.” – Psalm 51:12 In Hebrew and Greek (the original languages of the Bible) the word joy could be translated “ringing cries of ecstatic hope” or “delightful hope.”
“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be complete, where God wants you to be, lacking nothing.” – James 1:2-4
√ What would you say constitutes true joy?
√ What is the difference between happiness and joy?
√ How does joy impact our stories and our soul?
√ How does our joy impact others? Our lack of joy?
Our accomplishments do bring us earthly joy. This, to us, is a great reward of life. We must invest the capital (time, talents, and treasures) we acquire in the way we see fit – and this includes much more than mere physical assets. We either love deeply – or not so much. But in the final analysis, it appears that the joy of a well-lived journey follows us into the life to come. Boom.
Dave and Burnadette