©Joy Dunlap https://joydunlap.com
The crashing noise caused me to rush out of the laundry room into the breakfast nook.
My husband had already picked up the pieces and put them on the table.
The heart-shaped, pottery “Joy” ornament lay broken into shards with a tiny chip missing from one side.
“I’m so sorry,” he said. I knew he cared.
Has your joy ever shattered?
Have you ever been going happily along when – wham – your life seems to break into pieces?
An unexpected illness? A struggling family member? A lost job?
The death of a loved one? The severing of a relationship? The emotional wounding of gossip or hurled words?
Or disappointment that cut deep?
Suddenly that happiness, that good feeling, that exuberance for the day departs, and all you want to do is curl up on the couch, wrap up in a blanket and not face the world.
Has it ever seemed the entire world is happy at the same time you are broken, hurting, and struggling?
Not long before Jesus’ crucifixion, he warned the disciples they would experience that. He told them he would be going away but that was difficult for them to understand.
Jesus saw that they wanted to ask him about this, so he said to them, “Are you asking one another what I meant when I said, ‘In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me’?” John 16:19 NIV
To explain further, Jesus likened their anticipated response to how a mother’s pain at childbirth gives way to joy at the arrival of the baby. Many would cheer at the same time the disciples would mourn he foretold.
Society shouted for the crucifixion of Christ, even calling for freeing a criminal in His place, but it was meant for the Savior to take the place of each of us as sinners.
Very truly I tell you, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices.
You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy.
A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world.
So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy. John 16:20-22 NIV
Jesus’ resurrection made the difference – then and now.
Happiness may seem elusive at times. We may wrestle with discontentment, discouragement and dismay. But once we believe that Jesus broke the bonds of death, we can find refreshment in the deep heart joy that He is alive, He loves us and God is in control.
When we “see” Him, not only in Heaven, but also here in the midst of difficult times, we can find joy.
Jesus understands suffering. Hands ripped from the spikes driven through. Side punctured by the sword. Brow bleeding as the thorns cut into his forehead and scalp.
But scorners and scoffers do not hold the last word.
The stone to that grave was rolled away and Christ arose.
God’s triumphant display of eternal life conquering death heralded victory, but it also demonstrated the promise for each of us who walk with Him.
Joy is centered in knowing our Redeemer lives. And, because He does live, we can face tomorrow with confidence and courage. One of my favorite hymns, the popular Bill and Gloria Gaither gospel song “Because He Lives” reminds us that God holds the future, and as they say, “life is worth a living just because He lives.”
Joy is not found in circumstances but is embraced through Christ’s stance.
“I’ll glue it back together for you,” my husband said about the special “Joy” Polish pottery ornament he had knocked over. When it broke, he had actually been doing something in our house to help me – to help us.
Sure, I was disappointed, but his love for me and my love for him are stronger than what breaks.
And, how much stronger is the love of God for each of us? And our love for Him?
Parts of our life may shatter or break, but the same God who defeated death, the same God who lives today sealed our lives with love. Those mended pieces of our world may not look the same, but God has the power to strengthen it – to strengthen us – and make our lives beautiful.
And, that’s not all! Because He lives, yes, we can experience His peace and joy here on earth even amid the brokenness, but we also have the promise of eternity! Oh, what joy that will be!
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade.
This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 1 Peter 1:3-6 NIV
- When has your joy been shattered?
- How do you face life differently knowing that Jesus rose from the dead and lives today?
- What breaks in your life still need to welcome the repairing touch of God? Ask Him to mend your brokenness and restore your joy.
- Which song do you most connect with Easter, or is generally a favorite of yours?
- Is there joy in your heart today? Write three reasons you can experience joy because of Christ.
Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:34-39 NIV
Life is Better When It’s Full – Joy-full, Thank-full, Purpose-full and Friend-full! ™