Friday, March 22, 2013

Joy in the Journey

I want to share some comments by Chris Bower, pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Tallassee, Alabama. Chris was Jenny's youth pastor when she was a teenager. When Jenny and I started dating I met with Chris for several long theological conversations. I didn't know much about Presbyterians at the time and I was making sure he was biblical just as he was checking me out to make sure I was orthodox enough to date Jenny :-) I guess we both passed the test because I eventually married Jenny and Chris and I have been good friends over the years. He recently wrote:
"So much of our lives are lived from one goal to the next. When I was in high school I couldn't wait to get out of high school. When I was in college I couldn't wait to graduate. When I graduated from college I couldn't wait to get a job. Once I got a job I couldn't wait to get married. And so on and so forth. C.S. Lewis discovered that the only real destination is not a goal or a place or a dream. It's a person. In his book "Surprised by Joy" he explains that we all seek joy (or happiness). However, once the thing we thought would bring it to us is finally in our grasp the joy is gone. He finally realized that he could not find joy or happiness by seeking it. But in seeking God through Christ, he found the very thing he had been seeking all along... joy. Joy is not a goal. It is a by-product. Life is for journeys... journeys that continually lead us to our Lord. And the destination is far beyond this life. It is the hope of heaven. "Instead, they (people of faith) were longing for a better country - a heavenly one. Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them." (Hebrews 11:16)"
Jenny and I really resonate with these comments. We have been on the move from one goal and degree to another since we were married over 10 years ago. The fulfillment of each stage of the journey brings a sense of accomplishment, but not joy. Joy is found in and through Christ each step along the road. May you find joy in Christ and his presence this week!