Relationships – Day 20
The Lord and I: Joy
When asked what his advice would be for someone who suffers from depression and lacking joy in life, the well-known psychologist, Karl Messinger, said: “Lock up your house, go across the railway tracks, find someone in need and do something to help that person.”
In the same way, Jesus gave a radical answer: “If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will find it” (Luke 9:23-24).
What Jesus meant was that someone who seeks self-fulfilment will come up empty, but if he stays with the One who is the Source of joy, he will keep his life.
In a poem written by David, he names the spark that ignites joy in a person’s life — salvation: “Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me” (Psalm 51:12). Peter echoes this truth: “You have never seen Jesus, and you don’t see him now. But still you love him and have faith in him, and no words can tell how glad and happy you are to be saved” (1 Peter 1:8). Like Jeremiah, the Christian believer also finds his joy in the words of the Lord: “When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight” (Jeremiah 15:16).
Why then do we see so many unhappy people around us? The events behind the above Scriptures confront us with possible causes that smother joy.
People wilfully sin, like David with Bathsheba, and then try to hide or deny it. Acknowledgement, sincere remorse and the asking of forgiveness restore the transgressor’s outrageous joy (Psalm 51).
People do not really believe that God is who He says He is (Jeremiah 15:6); they cannot confess with all their heart: “You are my Lord, apart from you I have no good thing” (Psalm 16:2).
His word became a side issue in their lives — a fifth wheel to the coach. Maybe the time has come to greedily eat the Word again to foster joy and cheerfulness.
Who knows, maybe somewhere in the future we will meet one another on the railway tracks, looking for people who need the spark that ignites His joy in their lives.