Friday, February 4, 2011

Joy -- It's Not Just for Christmas Anymore!

"I will not allow uncertain circumstances to steal my joy."  Even though I was in and out of the car, and couldn't catch the full discourse, the radio pastor's words definitely sowed a seed; I've been thinking about it ever since.

Look at the facts: natural disasters, tyrannical governments, broken relationships, bad knees, long-term illness, foreclosure --temporary, volatile, immense beyond conscious choice or control, and nothing which is able to steal the joy that knowing Christ brings.  I recently finished Richard Wurbrand's Tortured for Christ.  The persecution God's people have endured joyfully, happily -- all because of the Joy that within them lives -- is amazing, and shameful to me.  People have suffered, are suffering imprisonment, physical abuse and torture, slander and shame, loved ones lost before their eyes -- and with joy!  Not because they are any happier to face their tormentors than we are to deal with unreasonable bosses, or unemployment, or prodigal children, or allergy shots, or chemotherapy -- but because of Christ, and His joy!  He lives within me, and the Bible has assured me that nothing can take Him from me!  Not to mention, the insignificance of a credit card bill or an overdue book report compared to the tribulation these folks suffer...

And looking at it, I have to consider God's grace in bestowing such eternal joy on us, joy without end, joy without limit, when we are those who whine if we have to teach Sunday School three weeks in a row because "that Mrs. What's-her face can't everseem to show up!"  We tithe for a short while before deciding, "I've been good; I'll just skip a week so I can get those cute heels while they're on sale."  We stay home from Bible study for a headache -- just imagine the headache a crown of thorns could cause...


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