Recently, a struggling friend commented to me, “I find no joy in the world, just pain over and over. It never ends.”
I don’t think he is alone.
In our most honest moments, when we step back from everything and look at this world, we think the same way. Hobbies come and go. Money comes and goes. Job security comes and goes. Friends come and go. Family comes and goes. Love comes and goes. Athleticism comes and goes. Beauty comes and goes.
We have moments of pleasure followed by months of pain. Seconds of joy followed by seasons of numbness. We hide from these thoughts. We abandon these feelings in the corner of our hearts because we don’t want to be a “Debbie-downer.” (sorry to any Debrahs out there)
I want to offer hope.
There is joy in this world, but it is not of this world. This world has joy, but that joy does not come from this world.
Sin stripped this world of joy and left only pain, death, struggle, and distance from God. I can’t think of a better word than “ravaged.” Sin has ravaged this world, and it is not done ravaging. And, although sin has ravaged us, we keep going back to sin.
But God infused into this world healing, life, joy, and adoption into his family through his Son Jesus Christ. The perfect Son of God faced sin. Jesus Christ faced sin’s ravagings.
Jesus was the man of sorrows so that we could have joy.
Jesus received our punishment so that we could have peace.
Jesus became sin so that we could become children of God.
Jesus was broken so that we could be healed.
Jesus faced God’s wrath so that we could face God’s love.
Then Jesus rose from the dead so that all who believe in him might have eternal life–the kind of life that fills us today and pulls us graciously into eternity.
There is joy in this world, but it is not of this world. It is from heaven.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. – Romans 15:13