Inexpressible Joy

Published on Jan 16th, 2013 by Pastor Ed Hlad | 0

It is January 16th and already people have stopped wishing me a Happy New Year.  I wonder if it is because we enter each year so full of expectations and hope but two or three weeks into the year reality settles in and we realize that this year will probably be more of the same?  Probably not, that thinking is too cynical.  We stop saying Happy New Year, not because our hopes and dreams of happiness are crushed, but because it just becomes too awkward after a day or two.  But does our hope of 2013 being a year full of happiness stop?  Don’t you find that an interesting question?  Have too many of us stopped striving or even thinking about happiness?  We have learned that there is more to life than simply trying to be happy.  There is obedience to God.  There is living in such a way that God receives all the glory.  There is responsibility and duty.  There is service and humility.  There is soberness and grieving.  There is a deep seated joy which is often spiritual speak for “I am somewhat miserable but I know God has saved me”.  But maybe many of us have given up too early on being happy.  We have dismissed the idea of being happy because we believe it is too emotionally driven and it is not sustainable in the face of real life.

I am beginning to wonder if the teaching that happiness is based on circumstances and joy is based on truth is somewhat flawed?  In I Peter 1:8 we are told that we “rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory”.  That rejoicing is a direct result of knowing that we are elect of God, born again through Christ, kept by the Spirit, and recipients of the greatest inheritance ever known.  I don’t know about you but those truths, even as I write them now, put a smile on my face.  I know that you can argue that what I am feeling is joy that is based on truth but I would suggest that I am also full of happiness because those truths are also my present circumstances.  It is true that my circumstances right now include the nasty weather (cold, dark, rainy), a paycheck that just shrunk by 2% and it will probably be shrinking more in a month or so as congress seeks some kind of compromise, some folks that are angry with me, etc. etc. but those are not all of my circumstances….I am also a chosen child of God who is a joint heir with Jesus Christ.  Although my inheritance is still to be realized in my life fully it is still a reality that changes my circumstances right now.  I am presently safe and secure in the arms of God and my future is safe, secure, and abundant.  Those are not simply truths.  They are my circumstances.  I find that I am like Peter – I can’t help but shout out, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  That shout out came from a heart full of joy and happiness.  So, take time to meditate on all of your realities of life and you will find that being a chosen, joint heir of Jesus is just so amazing that it outshines all of your other circumstances that try to bring grief.

 

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