Monday, May 21, 2007

Joy Comes in the Morning

Kim, at Hiraeth, has this "quote of the week" on her sidebar:

Grace has always seemed like an insult to the natural man. It cannot seem other wise since its principle design is to mortify the pride of man and display the glory of Christ. The grace of God which brings salvation does not look for righteousness from the sinner, but gives it to him. Grace is more than an objective fact presented to man; it is a subjective experience wrought by the Holy Spirit within the recipient.

W. E. Best, Studies in the Person and Work of Jesus Christ (emphasis original to the text).

That concept - that righteousness comes as a gift from God - goes against what we are told in our culture. We all have value, yes. We all have strengths and talents, of course. But the glorying in - the talking about our own righteousness as if we'd accomplished it ourselves is the pride.

I read something recently (I can't remember where) that in some other cultures, when a baby is born, the parents do not exclaim over how adorable the child is or how blessed they feel about the new arrival. Instead, they declare loudly and repeatedly how ugly and unworthy the child is, how the baby is another burden for them, etc. The explanation for this was that if they rejoiced in the baby, the gods (or fates or whatever) would be angry and jealous, and they would curse the child and the family because of their good fortune.

As Christians, we have a God who calls us to joy. He calls us to thanksgiving and to abundant life. We don't get any benefit from denying our enjoyment of the good things that come to us in this life; God wants us to find our joy in Him as the source of those good things.

The joy that comes from God isn't the "happiness" that we see in the world; it's deep and abiding joy. I wonder sometimes if "happiness" isn't the cheap substitute for real joy, and whether it wouldn't be better to be honestly sorrowful or grieved than to follow that social mandate to always be "happy."

Anyway, I said all of that to say that, in the however-long-it's-been since I started blogging, I've gotten to know people (some I've met but most I haven't) who have demonstrated grace and friendship and true "coming alongside" to share in a way that makes me more eagerly await heaven.

Some of the things that have been coming to the surface in my life over the past few months have been challenging for me, and I've written about them here, rather than in private, because I've seen people respond with compassion and love. Those people have helped more than they know, and with the sharing of burdens there is a desire to also share joy. Today is a day with joy.

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