Jesus, our Joy

I was asked a question this year – in a pre-marital counseling session – “what does the world say that marriage means?”

And I answered as best I could through the bewilderment this question produced. Honestly? I don’t know. I don’t know that the world really knows what it means. 

The world’s marriage edges out all boundaries of anticipation, neglects the distinction of permanency, retains no quality of separation from any other arrangement or relationship. The world says marriage only means something when you want it to mean something – the way it says a life only counts as a life if it’s convenient. 

When we make our own rules about everything, we’re ruled by the tyranny of selfishness, one that is willing to embrace contradiction and even gloat in hypocrisy if it serves the purposes of our own agenda. 

When we strip away the fundamental principles to something, we shouldn’t wonder why the foundation crumbles. The world has tried to cut God out of the fabric of existence, then wonders at the existential holes.

What does the world say that joy means? Honestly? I wonder, when I hear it used as just another word for happiness – the kind you get on the giving or receiving end of an act of kindness. I wonder when I hear it used as just another word for excitement – the kind you get in anticipation of a great vacation. I wonder when I hear it used as just another word for contentment – the kind you get when you’re with people you love. 

But there’s something missing in all of those – there’s a quality to joy that is distinct and left uncaptured. The world’s definition of joy displays a semantic ignorance of the deep-rooted reality that life beats you down. Earthly happiness and excitement and contentment can’t nullify the fact that the human spirit needs sustenance sourced beyond the realm of what can be produced or manufactured by our own effort or what can be grasped from the platform of secular achievement. 

Joy is impossible without an enduring, eternal wellspring. Joy is impossible in human terms, on human terms. Joy is complete and perfect in the Eternal Word – Jesus – the enduring source, the Word that reigns supreme over every temporal term, every fleeting happiness. 

The world needs to hear the news of this enduring Joy and it’s on those of us who know it to declare it. Come, all ye faithful – joyful and triumphant. We triumph because of the object of our faith and we are joyful because we have known the presence of the King. May every heart that knows His name be compelled to adoration — Jesus – the Wellspring – the Triumphant King – Joy of man’s desiring, holy wisdom, love most bright.

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