Last week hinted at one way. If I had to give it a label, I'd tag it celebration. Celebration, especially of God's victories in our life - throwing Him a party as evidence of His faithfulness. Everyone loves a party...I would imagine God's included in that, after all they were His idea implanted in our hearts. Those parties should include "lifting up banners of joy in His name." I just wonder what life would be like if we were more intentional about celebrations and parties? After all, the kind of joy they tend to produce is contagious.
I thought of another. Call this Joy Restorer #2. Tag it: Hope.
The last three airline trips I've made have been trips-from-down-under (and I'm not talking about Australia or New Zealand, if you know what I mean). I've experienced delay after delay, mostly due to mechanical failures or waiting to exchange crews who have worked over their hour limits. It began with the trip I took to Phoenix for my grandson's 8th birthday, carried over on the trip I took to my Aunt Frannie's 100th birthday party in Oregon, and this last flight going to Albany, New York. There's nothing like sitting an extra 8 hours at Dulles International Airport. By the time I arrived at my destination, I was getting pretty fed up with United Airlines. I was already forming (in my head) my letter of complaint, as well as how I would fill out their "Tell-Us-About-Your-Last-Experience-With-United" form. Neither would be very pretty. So, on Saturday morning, just prior to leaving for home, my sweet husband asked, no stated, "I bet you are looking forward to the trip home!" He leans toward the sarcastic. Before even arriving at the airport, we knew it would be a 16-hour day door to door. Who looks forward to that? (Actually, I think he was a little nervous traveling with me, since I didn't have the best of travel-fortune.) I thought for a minute, and responded, "What I'm looking forward to is what's at the other end...my own bed, eating my own food, time to go on some long walks, sitting on the couch in my pajamas and just being quiet for a few hours (or a few days)." That's when it struck me about hope. I knew the trip home was a long one. I knew there could be bumps, delays, problems, and flight crew changes. At the other end, I anticipated the joy of being home. I knew what was coming. I could foresee what that looked like. In that moment of insightful foresight, I found a new joy for the journey! It was completely founded on HOPE!
We have such a hope for life. It's also called home. Some call it heaven. The writer of Hebrews, when pointing to Abraham's exemplary faith, tell us that "he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God (11:10)." The Apostle John pointed to heaven, helping us picture what was ahead - a place with no sorrow, no tears...
Paul reminds us that to "die is gain..." The Apostle Peter weighs in with our inheritance "that is imperishable, undefiled and unfading, kept in heaven for (you)" and is guarded by God's power (1 Peter 1:6). We don't see heaven, we just catch glimpses of it through the eyes of those who were given opportunity to look at the world beyond and were excited for it. Which is why I love these words from Peter, as well:
"Though you do not now see.., you believe..., and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory (1 Peter 1:8b)."
#lessonsonjoy: When the road of life seems long and problem-filled, a glimpse at what's at the end will restore the joy.