Monday, January 12, 2015

Define My Joy

The joy-journey. I’m exploring the landscape; looking deeper into that which keeps joy, not just on the horizon, but ever-present. I have a map of sorts, but what’s to be found at each stop is still a mystery. Joy is the end destination, but I’ve just realized that while “joy” is clearly where I’m headed, I’ve never defined it! It’ll be difficult to know when I’ve arrived, if that hasn’t been settled.

So, for all practical purposes this is MY working definition. Joy: “an inner sense of calm; an uncluttered mind and heart that feels settled in spite of circumstances. An internal blitheness, or lack of concern about future events (not in a carefree, careless, or reckless mental state that throws caution to the wind, but a quiet assurance that ‘all things work together for good…’).”

 Joy is Peter walking on the water, while looking at Jesus, undisturbed. Joy is Mary pondering all things in her heart, and knowing her son was God’s Son…and in the end it would be OK! Joy is the martyr burning at the stake, yelling, “More than enough! He is more than enough!” Joy is the friend diagnosed with stage-four-cancer, who takes advantage of every single day to live to the full. Joy is the car accident victim learning to persevere and walk again, in spite of pain, counting his blessings in the midst. Joy is the daughter going through divorce digging deeply into truth, and coming out focused and victorious, more in love with Jesus. Joy is watching your young husband collapse after being hit in the chest, thinking everything you’d planned was about to change, but being convinced God still sovereignly holds every tomorrow. Joy is watching God provide month after month, never knowing if ends will meet, but confident in the One who is FAITHFUL (correction: more than FAITHFUL!). Joy depends not on circumstances. Joy depends wholly on who holds them.

Stop #1. The pinnacle of God's presence. 

Stop #2. The city of God’s blessings.

Stop #3. Here’s where the journey took me this week. The valley of Sabbath.

“If you keep your feet from breaking Sabbath and from doing as you please on my holy day; if you call Sabbath a delight, and the Lord’s day honorable; and if you honor it by not going your own way, and not doing as you please or speaking idle words, THEN YOU WILL FIND YOUR JOY IN THE LORD (emphasis mine), and I will cause you to ride on the heights of the land, and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob!” The mouth of the Lord has spoken.
Isaiah 58:13-14, NIV

Accordingly, when I honor Sabbath, I WILL FIND MY JOY! I think I’ll spend a little time here in this valley, wandering through grassy meadows. I’m thoroughly delighting in where I am, but, honestly, Sabbath doesn’t look anything like what I thought it should. We’ll explore the area together next week, after I learn my way around some…

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