Joy.

So, I was cut to the core by what my pastor preached about this morning. (isn’t everybody who blogs on a Sunday?) Let me start by telling you a story.

Once upon a time, there was a 24 year old gal and a 19 year old guy. They hardly knew each other, but one time they were both invited to a friend’s house to watch Chuck. The Chuck parties continued for several months, not limited to Chuck however, but also fun movies like High School Musical, Camp Rock, Sherlock Holmes, etc. were watched by the trio. However, the movies are not the point. These two eventually exchanged numbers and texted each other all day every day, about random things from coffee (or the dislike of it) to work to sports and everything in between. Now, the guy really liked this girl. He felt like they got along well, and though it was hard for him to make it known to her, he really wanted more than a friendship. He at least wanted a chance. They continued to hang out, making bets over church softball games, and even going to GattiTown with her parents and neice and nephew. It was a grand ole time. But one day the communication stopped. He would send her a quote from How I Met Your Mother to no avail and no response. After several weeks of this, he finally asked what was up. In his non-face-to-face method, he asked, “I miss hanging out with you. Why don’t we anymore?” She went on to explain that she felt like there was an unsaid pressure for more than a friendship and that she didn’t want that so she just stopped communicating. The guy was hurt, but he tried to be understanding. Hurt not so much in the sense of betrayal, but in a sense of wishing he had been more forward and said so before communication got skewed and confusing. He blamed himself. Anyway, they agreed to be friends and he continued to try to talk to her, still sometimes to no avail. Shortly after that, he found out that she was going to be seeing someone. He tried to be okay with that, but he wasn’t. He wished he had a shot. Soon enough he found out who this someone is because they had posted a mushy, disgusting, romantic Bruno Mars song on her Facebook page. He wanted to kill that guy. Seriously.

 

Okay, so as you can imagine, that story isn’t unfamiliar to me, because it happened to me. And the latest development happened today, this morning, before I even came to the church for worship practice. It made me really mad. Like, I wanted to just punch stuff. Some part of me still felt like I was the one who should be able to post Bruno Mars songs on her Facebook page. I was (and frankly, still kind of am) jealous.

Anyway, about an hour and a half after I write that, I am more or less numb to it, because I realize that I don’t need her in order to be happy, to have joy. It’s funny to me the things that tell us they’ll bring us joy. That nice new phone. That iPad. That nice new shirt. That new computer. That car. That bluray player. All the things that make life awesome. They all disguise themselves as needs. A girlfriend. A boyfriend. A husband or a wife.

The point made by my pastor was that Mary, who had done nothing to deserve the title of “blessed and highly favored” was called “blessed and highly favored” by the angel who brought her the news of her carrying Jesus. And she received the news with JOY, despite what she still had to do. She still had to talk to Joseph and somehow convince him that even though she was pregnant, she hadn’t known a man. She would have to live with the stigma and public perception of having a child out of wedlock. She would have to deal with the fact that people would see Jesus as an illegitimate child and, excuse my modern bad word, a bastard.

Paul, when he was in jail, in constant risk of being taken out and put to death, reminded the Philippians to rejoice in the Lord always.

Basically, my pastor expounded that circumstances are going to happen. Bad things are going to happen. Our bills are not always going to come at the same time as our paycheck. The car is going to break down. People are going to get sick. But our joy is not circumstantial. We have joy because God treats us as sons and daughters, which means that He is not going to give up on us or leave us when the going gets rough. He’s there, He loves us, He affirms us, and He has a plan even when things aren’t looking up. THAT’S the source of our joy.

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