I received some really good news last week. Professionally, I’m in a position I’ve never been in before. I’m in a space and place I never even thought I wanted, and while things aren’t perfect, I have an opportunity I’ve never had to do what I believe our kids really need. The excitement, though, I thought I should have and the elation I saw on the faces of others did not penetrate me in the same ways it did them. A friend of mine asked, “Is this good news?” after not hearing through the phone the cheerfulness she expected to hear. In the few days since first getting the news, I’ve learned to fake enthusiasm a bit better for the benefit of those around me, but why isn’t this news causing the same glee in me, the actual recipient?
It’s because I’m studying joy. It’s because I’m praying for faith. I’m not unhappy. I’m not ungrateful. I’m just evolving in my relationship with Christ, and I realize that the things of this world are fleeting, and what’s everlasting is the source of my joy. When my contentment lies in the things of this world, my emotions take me on a rollercoaster ride of circumstances: If things work in my favor, I’m happy; if things are hard, I’m depressed. I cannot live like this anymore, allowing myself to be tossed around like a boat on unsteady waters. I have to find something lasting. I have to find something permanent. I have to find Him.
Successes in life are great, but they aren’t the greatest. Validation and compliments from man feel good, but do you know what feels better? When I am the worst I can be, when I fall so far short of who He wants me to be, He still extends His graces and mercies. When He knew exactly the sinner I would be, intimately knowing the sins I have never confessed to anyone, He endured the cross on Calvary anyway, bled and died anyway, and rose early that Sunday morning with all power in His hands that I might be forgiven and be saved anyway! Like Tosha Cobbs Leonard sings, “At the end of the day, at the end of the day, He loves me!”
When Jesus sent the seventy-two out to heal the sick, they came back overjoyed that they were able to succeed: “Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name” (Luke 10: 17). They had successfully done what Jesus had commanded them to do, but He didn’t want them to miss the actual source of all joy. He didn’t want them to get it twisted. Jesus said to them, “do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven” (Luke 10: 20). In other words, He reminded them, and us by extension, that our joy should lie in our salvation!
So like I said, I received some really good news last week, but the good news makes me throw my hands up in praise. The good news compels tears to stream down my face. The good news makes me endure what I don’t really want to do in favor of what He wants me to do. The good news reminds me that He still loves me!
Heavenly Father, I thank you for sending Jesus to save me. I recognize and appreciate the successes you’ve allowed in my life, but I know that salvation through you is the source of lasting joy. Regardless of circumstance, suffering or success, failure or fortune, victimization or victory, I am yours, and you’ve seen fit to save me! It’s because of You that I can live with joy. It’s because of You that I can walk without worry. Let me never forget the cross and why You endured it. When I get weak, strengthen me with the reminder of You and what You did for me. When I am lifted up by man, humble me that I may remember You are the Risen King. All that I am and will be should be for Your glory. Let me never forget that, Lord. Amen