Everyone is looking for joy. Marketing companies know this. Every commercial promises the same product: joy. Want some joy? Buy our hand cream. Want some joy? Sleep on this mattress. Want some joy? Eat at this restaurant, drive this car, wear this dress. Every commercial portrays the image of a joy-filled person.
Joy. Everyone wants it. Everyone promises it. But can anyone deliver it? It might surprise you to know that joy is a big topic in the Bible. Simply put: God wants his children to be joy-filled. The joy offered by God is different from the one promised at the car dealership or shopping mall. God is not interested in putting a temporary smile on your face. He
wants to deposit a resilient hope in your heart.
Peter referred to this joy in the opening words of his epistle. He was speaking to persecuted Christians who had been driven from their cities and separated from their families. Their rights had been taken. Their possessions had been taken. Their futures had been taken, but their joy had not been taken. Why?
Jesus was the source of their joy and because no one could take their Jesus, no one could take their joy.
What about you? What has been taken from you; your health, a home, a dream or a marriage? As you look at these burial plots of life, is your joy buried also? If so, you may have substituted courageous joy for contingent joy.
Contingent joy is always dependent upon a circumstance. Contingent joy says I’ll be happy when … or … I’ll be happy if. Contingent joy depends upon the right circumstance. Since we cannot control every circumstance, contingent joy sets us up for disappointment.
Courageous joy, however, turns us into strong people. Courageous joy sets the hope of our hearts on Jesus and Jesus alone. Is that to say our lives will be storm-free? Is that to say no sorrow will come our way? No. But that is to say our sorrow will not last forever. Since no one can take our Christ, no one can take our joy. Amen.