Sometimes I find myself saying things like: Tomorrow will be a better day. Or If I do (blank) then I will find joy. Or… If I buy this new thing it will make me feel better. Or if I had more money… You get where I am going with this. Let’s face it. It’s easy to seek joy from external things. But true joy comes from inside. And more specifically it comes from a relationship with the Lord. True joy is not dependent on anything other than the peace of being connected to Jesus.
I am the vine and you are the branches… (John 15)
He is the air we breathe and the lifter of our heads. He is the only joy that counts because His joy is deep and real and eternal and powerful.
My friend’s daughter’s husband died suddenly last week. One of her daughters is also my beloved friend. I have watched them walk through this tragedy drawing from a deep well of Living Water. They have spent their lives connected to the One who brings love, joy, peace and hope. They are living proof that this life can throw painful arrows our way but no one can steal our joy in Christ.
But whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life. (John 4:14)
Jesus told the woman at the well that He was the Living Water who would satisfy her thirst. He told her to fill up with His water because His water was and is an endless supply of thirst busting, joy inducing, hope-producing force. She had a messy life. Rejected by the Jews as a Samaritan woman, lonely and possibly ashamed, she met Jesus beside the well. Scripture tells us that He had to go to Samaria. Why did He have to go? He went in order to give her drink from His eternal well. He met her there to restore her hope and joy.
So this gets me to my point. Don’t postpone joy. As Christians, we are called to rise up in Christ and live a joy-filled life. We are a city set on a hill shining brightly. And trust me, when we live our lives authentically before others and admit that life is challenging at best; that life is hard… and painful at times but we know where to go to rise up out of the pit. We know to take a deep drink from The Well, Living Water.
As I have observed my friends suffering through the tragedy of loss, I see something else happening. Their broken tattered hearts are like a healing bomb to others. They hold up Christ as their hope and joy. No sugar-coating the loss and the pain, but rising from the ashes is joy and hope that spring eternal from the Vine. As the branch, they draw their life and joy they know will come in the morning.
I will extol you, O Lord, for you have drawn me up and have not let my foes rejoice over me. O Lord my God, I cried to you for help and you have healed me. O Lord, you have brought up my soul from Sheol; you restored me to life among those who go down to the pit…….You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent.. (Psalm 30)
So today, do not postpone joy. God will not leave you in the pit of despair. He will reach down and draw you out of the pit and He has promised to turn your mourning into dancing.