Thursday, May 9, 2013

Seeking Joy

The thoughts won't quit. Busy days, sunshine and hard work, it should all equal a solid nights sleep. But the thoughts still don't quit. The mornings only come earlier, the desperation greater.

From the beginning of this grief process numerous people have encouraged us that time would heal. Lately, the push of the general consensus has been that it's time for us to find our joy again here. I almost listened, my people pleasing nature being quick to conform rather than to trust the whispers of God.

There is more than here. So much more.

Jesus endured for the joy set before him. Paul lived for That Day. The Apostle Peter said the inheritance was waiting ahead of us, not here. What good would it have benefited Trent to have lived only for here, only for now? Twelve years, his entire life span, compared to eternity. An eternity that is somehow based on what we do here for our Savior. Rewards and treasure to store up there, trials and sanctification that are achieving for us an eternal glory. A sovereign God in complete control of it all while at the same time we are responsible for our own actions in it. Our very decision to respond to the gospel, to choose heaven or hell in a sense, and I should just be content to be happy with some new hobby.

That concept of seeking out ultimate joy here is no longer a reality. My soul screams out the insanity of all these well wishers' kind words. The demeaning of the gospel in exchange for my fleeting pleasure. Idolatry in its subtlest form.“Seek it here,” repeated over and over again.

What a fool I must be portraying myself to be to those who have never tasted of this depth of pain, this desperate need for there to be more, with the only satisfaction being found in God. What else is worth seeking out? What field is worth selling all of my possessions for, even the giving of my very life? How could the more be in this life? How could more joy be found in experiences rather than in a Divine Creator?

It's pretty easy for somebody who has held their child every night for the past twenty-seven months to tell us to just be happy here, while really implying that we'd quit making them feel guilty, to stop talking about eternity all the time. So many professing Christians have mastered trying to convince the outside world and themselves that everything is all about Jesus when really it's not. Only torturous pain will drive you to look deep enough to ask the hard questions, to seek only God Himself. When you're bucked off the soothing carousel ride of life and are lying flat on your back is when you finally look up.

Christ talked about heaven constantly, trying to explain it to his followers. Eternity. Eternity. Eternity. He didn't seek His kingdom here, in fact he denied a worldly kingdom when it was offered to him. He didn't build castles, establish Facebook friends or make sure he saw all the sights and crammed every imaginable experience into thirty-three years, rather he sought fellowship with God, pursued heavenly missions, battled for obedience, waited patiently for the glory due him.

The Apostle Paul was warned about how he would suffer for the sake of the gospel. Somehow, his joy was found in that honor. How my brain battles with this concept. How much easier it would be to content myself with believing the words of those who encourage me to just seek out the good things God has given me for the rest of the days I am here. “He made them for your joy, so enjoy them,” I hear over and over.

Common grace, yes, but past the sun and the croaking spring frogs and the new birth of farm animals is God himself. I can't get enough of Him to fully notice the rest. But there's not enough of Him that this sinful flesh part of me can drink in because of the physical separation of heaven and earth. It's not that I've grieved too long, or I need to get on with life, or I need a new hobby. It's that I truly long only for God. Substitutes won't satisfy. It really is all about God, glory and the gospel.