There is meaning in everything

Ecclesiastes

“Every word we speak, every purpose we pursue, and all of those who contribute to our lives in either helpful or hurtful ways are helping to explain who and what we are about… from many different perspectives.

Just as the human story of Jesus does not begin and end in a “Once upon a time” scenario, neither do our lives begin and end apart from a series of defining moments.

Yet, because of the way our minds and bodies interact with our place in changing times,  it is not just running fugitives who get lost in their own story.

Even the most devout person of faith can easily forget in the best and worst of times, or even in the most uneventful, that it is the way that the story of Jesus intersects with the unfolding drama of our lives that gives meaning to everything we think, feel, and do.”

~ Mart De Haan

Visit http://beenthinking.org/2012/12/06/we-too-are-lost-and-found-in-space-and-time/ for the full article.

God gives meaning to everything and He is there in every area of my life – relationships, house, job, hobbies, etc…He is present in my ups and downs. Even in the midst of troubled times, I realise I can find joy. 🙂

Lately, I’ve been pondering over the difference between “happiness” and “joy”. My understanding is that “happiness” is entirely dependent on circumstances and is a temporary emotion. For example, if I get a new car. I feel happy at that moment because I’ve gotten something but that feeling of euphoria is fleeting and once it is gone, I start to look for something else that will satisfy me. “Joy” on the other hand goes much deeper than “happiness”. It is the ability to be happy, and have peace and strength within even when thrown in the depths of despair or in times of trial. It is a quiet confidence inside that is unshakeable and is only possible in having a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. It is eternal and cannot be taken away.

I remember reading a short story which I recall vaguely that explains the difference between joy and happiness. When a duck is swimming in a quiet river, it is easy for it to feel peace because the river is calm and the scenery serene. That is happiness which is influenced by circumstances. The second scene – a bird’s nest was found behind a waterfall and the bird was found resting peacefully despite the noise and rush of the water falling from the cliff. That is a clear illustration of what joy means – to find rest even when life is chaotic.

To quote James 1:2-4, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” I thought it interesting that the word “joy” is used instead of “happy.” The idea of being able to have joy in troubled times may seem ludicrous. After all, it is very difficult to be encouraging and positive when experiencing discouragement. 🙂 I know for myself that there were times I thought it useless to even pick up my Bible because I was so down. Everything seemed so dark. It was impossible at that point to pull myself up. However, it is the trial itself that strengthens me and moulds my character. What develops is an inner strength. It prepares me to face future obstacles and also comfort others in my life. It is in all of this that my joy may be complete. 🙂

At times in a specific situation, I just cannot explain why I just keep going on but I know that it is having God in my life that enables me to do this. He helps me put problems in my life into perspective – His perspective. I am finding that as the days go by I am less and less afraid of the situations and people that I used to be fearful of. It does not mean that I am void of fear. It means that I can have confidence within because God is my refuge and strength. He is a strong tower for my life (Proverbs 18:10). A big problem gets easier with time and becomes smaller in the light of eternity. I find peace and joy within even though a situation remains unchanged.  I have learnt that one can only experience true lasting joy after one has experienced great sorrow.

What a paradox! 😉

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