I remember once going to play golf with two other friends. When we got to the course, the starter added another guy—someone we didn’t know—to our group to round-out our foursome. We began to “play” our round of golf (I use the term play loosely), and joke, and laugh, and enjoy ourselves.
About 4 or 5 holes into our round, our new friend asked what we all did. I responded, “He’s a pastor, I’m a pastor, and that guy over there is a missionary.”
Our new friend looked shocked. “You mean you’re all Christians?!”
“Yes, we are,” I said. “Does that surprise you?”
“Yes,” he replied, and then quickly added, “But I’ve never had so much fun playing golf before!”
It’s funny, and yet sad. Why would Christians be thought of as boring? dull? killjoys? Shouldn’t we be the most happy and joy-filled of all?
Here’s what Charles Spurgeon said—
We ought to be glad and rejoice forever in that which God creates. Ours is a heritage of joy and peace. My dear brothers and sisters, if anybody in the world ought to be happy, we are the people.
How large our obligations! How boundless our privileges! How brilliant our hopes!
What should make us miserable? Sin? That is forgiven. Affliction? That is working our good. Inward corruptions? They are doomed to die. satanic temptations? We wear an armor which they cannot penetrate. We have every reason for delight, and we have moreover this command for it: “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4). May God bring us into that blessed condition and keep us there!
God intends not only that we should have joy but also that we should spread it among others. He intends that wherever we go we should be light bearers and set other lamps shining.
Can people tell you have the joy of the Lord? Are you bringing light and laughter to dark and somber places? If you are filled up with God, how happy you should be!
May 27, 2011 at 8:56 pm
I am having serious relationship difficulties with my girlfriend. My best friend is losing his business. Another friend is disabled with Stage IV Cirrhosis of the liver. Another friend just lost his father, and his mother was just hospitalized with a life threatening illness. Some of my friends have been out of work for over a year, and a few over 2 years. All this, just this week, and frankly, this isn’t unusual. It’s life.
The truth of Spurgeon’s message is that it is also God’s truth, and grounded firmly in scripture. How is it that we experience this joy also while we experience the everyday sufferings of this life? What does “joy” feel like when we also are crying with pain and grief? “Joy” in the spiritual sense must be something more than “feeling good.”
James 1:2 — “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into diverse temptations . . . “
May 27, 2011 at 10:02 pm
Oh my, Frank, I’m so sorry to hear about all that’s on your plate right now. I’m praying that God will give you the inner strength you will need to glorify Him through all of these difficult circumstances. I believe the joy of the Lord can be our strength. Christ experienced all of the pain we are (and ever will) experience, and He’s interceding on your behalf even now. Our joy comes from knowing He sees, He knows, and He responds. Earlier this week I shared this on Twitter…
God hears & understands your tears: “The Lord has heard my weeping. The Lord has heard my plea; the Lord WILL answer my prayer” (Ps6:8-9).