Christian devotions in the Daily-Message

Christian devotions in the Daily-Message

Joy

“And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you.''

John 16:22
 

I once heard the saying: Man does not necessarily only die at the end of his life. He can already be dead in the middle of his life. In the middle of our prosperity and joyous living, with the belief that we have everything and can do anything, this critical word concerning man's spirit and spiritual death sounds rather gloomy.

It begins with the complaint that we don't know what to do with our leisure time. With others, that they are lonely amidst all the hustle and bustle. A person can create without being creative, speak without conversing, be lonely in a crowd, laugh without experiencing joy, sing love songs without being happy. That is death in the middle of life. Impoverished despite wealth?! Hunger despite satiety?!

A man without joy, without any hope of receiving joy, is not really alive. I am reminded of the song where a man cannot laugh. He goes to the doctor who advises him to go to the circus, to see the clown. The problem is just: the patient sitting before him is the clown. Behind the cheerful façade, there is hidden an extreme loneliness. Fun can be purchased, but not joy. Maybe you remember the laughing bag. Once the battery ran out, even the laughing bag stopped laughing. Joy must be gifted.

God offers it to us. We can experience it through the loving care of a human being. The true joy, which is deeply rooted within our hearts, is not even extinguished by suffering. I am reminded of a dear person who had lung cancer. In spite of her suffering, she radiated hope and joy to the bitter end, giving us courage and hope, giving us strength.

Increasingly, a new hunger awakens, not a hunger for goals, values, meaningful tasks..., but a hunger to just be human, to feel safe and secure, for sincerity. Only through a sense of certain security am I able to expose my inner self to another person or to something. Without this basic feeling of security, I sway back and forth until I eventually find myself somewhere. It already commences when I, just wanting my peace after a hard day's work, reject anything which I am confronted with. Not before long I am drowning in my own misery, am unable to participate in anything new and am no longer open to the diversity of the day to day existence. Those who feel secure are open to change.

The darkest and deepest abandonment is when a person depends solely upon himself or his equal. There is actually no reason therefore. Man is God's creation and can depend completely on his Creator. We express this by addressing God as Father. This awareness makes me more far-sighted, more cautious, more free and simultaneously more watchful.

It brings about this joy, of which Jesus said: “ your joy no man taketh from you” (John 16:22). It is experienced by a person who is deeply aware that he is accepted and uniquely loved by God.

Our joy in receiving a gift, should not come from the value of the gift, but from the love of the gift-giver. Whoever gives nothing of himself in a gift, only gives for the sake of giving a gift.

The Apostle Paul said of God: “He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:32). He does not give us everything we want, but everything we need for living. Many Christians have great and many desires. With logical thinking they should be able to understand: this can never be fulfilled. We are allowed to dream, but what God gifts us with, must suffice.

Allow yourself to be gifted by Him in small and great things.

(Translated by Linda Gates)

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