Joy, Peace and Optional Misery

“Delight yourselves in the Lord; yes, find your joy in him at all times.” (Philippians 4:4)

“While pain and suffering are inevitable, misery is optional.” Those were the words of Tim Hansel, a man who lived every day with excruciating pain (in his book You Gotta Keep Dancin’.)  How could misery be optional for someone in agonizing pain? And how do we explain Apostle Paul mentioning joy seventeen times in the short letter he wrote from prison to his favorite church?

Paul explains that for those who are experiencing a relationship with the risen, living Christ there is a peace and joy that is not controlled by circumstances. What Paul experienced could be called, “peace that doesn’t make good sense” and “joy that doesn’t make good sense.” According to Paul, the foundation of that peace and joy is the Lord Jesus Himself. He therefore prescribed that we are to delight ourselves in the Lord and then find our peace and joy in Him at all times.

What is the foundation for your peace and joy? If your foundation is the relationship with a loved one, do you realize there is no relationship with people here in this life that cannot be removed? If that foundation is your health, your youth or your athleticism, many thousands of people, who had those foundations before age, an illness, or an injury destroyed them, will join me in warning you that they are very fragile foundations for the peace and happiness Paul is prescribing.

In the Gospel of John 17:3 we’re told: And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.”  Jesus identified and declared the right foundation for us as knowing God and Jesus Christ Whom God sent into this world.

What is the foundation for your peace? your joy?

Dick Woodward, 23 June 2009

Editor’s Note: To learn more about Tim Hansel, who was a great inspiration to Dick Woodward, check out this blog written at Dick’s request by Clark Morledge over at Veracity.com.  Click here to read it: Joy: Tim Hansel

One Response to Joy, Peace and Optional Misery

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