The Return of JoyPublished 4:34am Friday, June 7, 2013
As I sat in my home office earlier today, I heard a familiar sound entering the house: the arrival of two of our grandchildren. But this time it was obvious by the tones of their voices that their excitement was even more intense than usual. It was not long before Addyson rushed over by my desk with something that she could hardly wait to introduce me to–Foxy, their newly acquired kitten. Foxy is tiny and has lots of long hair. I think she looks a lot like a colorful possum, but that does not matter, the girls are thrilled with the new addition to their lives.
I suppose it is always exciting for kids when they get a new pet, but there is more to the story regarding the joy that Mallory and Addyson expressed. It was not so long ago that the girls got their first kitten. It was a joyful time for them that was cut short when in a few days the kitten that they called Sadie suddenly and unexpectedly died. That was a sad learning experience for the two girls that produced some interesting questions and comments from them. So the arrival of their new furry friend was a special and timely event. I trust that this experience will be a lot more positive for them than their previous one.
Difficult and sad experiences, as we well know, certainly are not limited to childhood; throughout life we face lots of disappointments and trials that seem to drain the life out of us. But as followers of Jesus Christ, we can rest assured that He is always present and available to help us face those tough circumstances of life and we can trust Him to restore our joy. One writer uses an interesting illustration to describe the joy that we can experience and reflect: “Joy is the flag that flies over the castle of our hearts announcing that the king is in residence today.”
We can more easily fly the flag of joy over our lives when we allow the words of the apostle Paul to grip our hearts: “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all” (2 Corinthians 4:17, New International Version). It is important to bear in mind that the writer that God used to pen that statement was personally familiar with hardships that resulted from his unshakable faith and unmovable determination to remain true to the Lord at all costs. Yet he described the troubles of this life as being “light and momentary!” Paul was able to maintain that kind of attitude toward what he faced because he had confidence in the One that he served and he was convinced that eternity holds wonderful things for the faithful children of God.
Some things that we lose in life cannot be replaced and we might have to carry a few bad memories that cannot be forgotten, yet in all the hard places and disappointments in life we can be confident that as we continue to trust God He will see us through. David expressed that kind of confidence in God as he wrote, “You have made known to me the path of life; You will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at Your right hand.” (Psalm 16:11).