Wednesday, April 16
I possess a small collection of devotional books, most from the 1950’s, that were presented to school-age children designed to provide Christian encouragement. They are inscribed by Sunday school teachers and parents typically on the date of a graduation, Easter or Christmas.
Through the years I have read them as an adult searching for “simple but true” reflections, and from time to time have even used them in sermons. While the topics are geared towards those growing in their faith as they are striking out into the world, there is a character trait that these little books all point toward: the joy that comes with trusting our Lord in all things.
We do not often hear of “joy” spoken of these days. “Happiness” and “success” are the words of our age. From our youth all sorts of formulas are used to define success - so we can successfully go to the right university, so we can successfully earn the best degree and establish the best networking relationships, so we can successfully launch professional careers … all to ensure our success and happiness throughout the rest of our lives.
But lifetimes teach those who are paying attention that success is fleeting and happiness often thin and temporary. Success and happiness in the eyes of the world are shallow and only divert our attention away from the One who made us for “Joy.” Yes, God made us to live in Joy, an experience so consuming that for those who experience the “joy of the Lord” there is nothing better.
Jesus knew the “joy” of being in relationship with the Father. Paul knew that same “joy.” The author of Hebrews encourages us to strive for this “joy” - just as Jesus Himself did, and that there is nothing that compares with living wholly in relationship with the God. Anything else – including success and happiness in this world - is far less than we were meant to experience in all of God’s creation. If this were not so, Jesus wouldn’t have given his life so that we may “enjoy God forever,” from this very day through eternity.
Lift in prayer today
Salvation Army Center for Hope,
providing shelter and services for homeless women