- February 04, 2018
- Jared Odenbeck
What drives your joy? The answer to that question may diagnose the problems at the core of our being that produce our troublesome emotions.
We center our thoughts and feelings, on today, on this moment. Sometimes this moment fills us to the brim with pleasure, gladness, and contentment. We suck the sweet warmth of the summer air deep into our lungs. Sometimes this moment rips us apart with pain, emotional turmoil, and inner achings. We loathe and groan under the weight of suffering and wrap ourselves up in defense against the chilling winds and bitterness of winter.
Maybe our actions and reactions in the midst of our circumstances underscore the reason why we find ourselves buried under discontentment, frustration, and disappointment. Perhaps we treasure this age far too much and neglect the glorious and triumphant inevitability of the age to come. We are tragically nearsighted. If only we grasped the “glory that is to be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18).
We taste this age over the one to come because we drink it in gulps and sip, let alone neglect, the living water that brings a fresh and fuller joy that supersedes conditions. But there is something more.
Yes, in this life you will have trouble (John 16:33), and those moments will indeed be troublesome. “But take heart, for I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Yes, both in this age and in the age to come. We have seen and will see signs and wonders and triumphs and glories and answers in this age. But there is a roaring glory, the deafening sound of the fury of his love, which will silence all once and for all. That must be the source of our hope.
If we hold the inevitability of pain, disappointment, frustration, and heartache of this world in one hand, embrace the gain that comes from our steadfastness in them, and meet it head on with the hope of greater glory and an unrivaled eternal weighty hope of glory in our other hand, we can join with Paul and say with assurance that this “light and momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison” (2 Corinthians 4:17).
Most importantly, we must allow the Holy Spirit to fill us. We must invite him. Plead with him. Eagerly desire that he make himself more evident inside of us so that his goodness sprouts out of us and proceeds out into the world. That is where we will discover what Steven felt as stones rained on him (Acts 7:54-60). The grace to forgive. The love to forget. The confidence to lose everything necessary to enter the Kingdom. The belief to know that we are seated in heavenly places, (Ephesians 2:6) both now and forever.