Searching for the Joy

As a man searches for buried treasure, hidden riches, or secrets of the unknown, I’ve been searching for joy.

You know, the ‘joy’ spoken of in the Word of God.  Of course, we know ‘joy’ is different from ‘happiness’.  In my limited understanding ‘happiness’ is more of a fleeting thing, whereas ‘joy’ is something deeper, something stronger, something more permanent and unchangeable.  With that understanding we can be unhappy, but still have joy.  But, on the other hand, remove the joy, and even if we are smiling we may be quite sad inside.

So, I’ve been on the hunt for joy.  For the ‘joy unspeakable and full of glory’.  Not that I haven’t had joy, but wanting to understand it better.  And in this journey I’ve discovered something that is really quite hard to explain, but we will give it a shot…

“Joy” – is not what most people think it is.

The truth is this – most people are selfish, and the selfish nature can never find the joy spoken of in the Word.  Now understand – when I say ‘selfish’ I’m not talking about the little boy that wants all the candy for himself.  I’m talking about we seek those things that bring us pleasure and enjoyment, and sometimes that process short-changes others.  In other words, “us first, and everyone else second”.  Of course, we most often deny this ‘tag’, but reality often speaks for itself.  Most everyone would deny they are selfish, instead we are caring, giving, self-sacrificing, always thinking of the other person.  But, the real puzzle is you can be both giving (and those other things), and also selfish, too.

But, let’s be clear – the ‘joy’ I’m talking about is a lot more than just being giving and helpful, and thinking of the other person.  In other words, not selfish.  It’s deeper than that.

This deeper ‘joy’ only comes from an awareness that we are part of a much bigger whole.  It comes from an awareness that even though we are small, and seemingly lost in a sea of humanity, somehow our very existence is important to the ‘big picture’.  I may even be as bold to say that the world needs you.  I know – that seems a little too much, but to understand the ‘joy’ I’ve been talking about requires us to acknowledge the fact that although we don’t always understand our purpose in this crazy world, and we don’t always feel loved and appreciated, nevertheless we are important to God’s plan and in His plan NOTHING is insignificant.

So, this ‘joy’ I’m talking about really has very little to do with pleasure seeking, or temporary happy moments.  It has more to do with understanding that we are important to God’s plan, and that although things are not always to our liking, He is guiding our life in the way that pleases Him, and that is enough.

It’s not about getting what we think we want, or getting those things that we think will make us ‘happy’.  Those things will change, some will fade, and some will simply go away.  No, those are temporary things, that may bring us happiness and enjoyment, but the ‘joy’ I’m talking about is much deeper than that.  This ‘joy’ is not affected by circumstance, situation, persecution, sickness, riches, or poverty.  It not affected by position, fear, or even the happiest of times.  This ‘joy’ is rooted in being written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, and that when all else is over and done, that is all that is really going to matter.

We often feel our situation is unique, and that whatever feelings we may have – loss, grief, relationship problems, children problems, parent problems, stress, anxiety, fear, depression, and on and on – are feelings that we, alone, have.  But, this is not true.  And, even if it were true, God feels our distress and knows exactly where we are at all times.

‘Joy’ is not about everything going right, or everything working out like we planned.  It is not even about winning all the time.  ‘Joy’ is not about prosperity, or poverty, or anywhere in-between.  It is not about what you have, or don’t have, or wish that you had.  This ‘joy’ I’m talking about is rooted in the simple fact that God loves you, He has a plan for you, and He is working His plan, and though the storm may rage and waves and wind try to tear you apart, all will be good.

One Response to “Searching for the Joy”

  1. Says:

    Excellent! Unfortunately, we are living in a world where “I” matters more than “others”. I am seeing this more and more with each passing day. Just a reminder of how soon the Lord is to return. I have learned however that when we do put “others” first we do experience the “joy” you are talking about! As always, thank you for the blessing you are in your writings.

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