You Can Have JOY!

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen.
For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

II Corinthians 4:18  

When you read a book or see a movie, are you bothered when it doesn’t have a satisfying conclusion? It doesn’t have to necessarily be a “happy ending” (as in Pollyanna-ish) but I think most people find satisfaction when there is some sense of justice worked out in the end.   I wonder if many of us become undone with “life” because, from our perspective, what is happening around us (or to us) seems so entirely unfair?   Too often, our disappointment in life is at the root of much of the depression, anger, bitterness, fearfulness (I could go on but I think you get my point) that can so  overwhelm and dishearten us.   I wonder if part of our difficulty when we are caught up in depression and the like, has largely to do with the belief that this is all there is.   It us as if we have just walked out of the movie theater (our life experience) and we’re totally disappointed with the end of the story (life in the present.)  We want to shout, “Where’s love?  Where’s justice?  Where is hope?  WHERE IS JOY?!!”  The good news in this?  This life isn’t the end . . . God has so much more in store for His kids as we are drawn together through our faith in His Son.

This brings to my mind the first biblical truth that took hold of me after I gave my heart to Christ.   Studying Paul’s letter to the church at Phillipi I learned (in essence) that, “I can have JOY in spite of circumstance; I can have JOY in spite of people-through Christ who strengthens me!”  Paul sought to encourage the Phillippian church (while himself being chained in a Roman prison cell) to look beyond their present experience to Christ Jesus.   Paul spurs his friends to radically live out their faith, rejoicing in Christ no matter where they are.   Such is the key to experiencing the quietness of heart that trusting Christ gives.  Authentic Christian joy will always have more to do with the attitude of the heart than with our circumstance, because such joy is established on the radical love of God as demonstrated on the Cross of Christ.  Our bottom line?  When in doubt, praise His blessed name!  Give thanks for His love, His mercy, His kindness being worked out in our lives each and every day.  Give thanks that  He remains faithful even when we are not!

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!
Let your gentle spirit be known to all men.
The Lord is near.  Be anxious for nothing,
but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving
let your requests be made known to God.
And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension,
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:4-7

ALL to His Glory!

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