It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.
CS Lewis, The Weight of Glory
Happiness is found in temporal circumstances. Joy is found in eternal circumstances. So, I asked myself this week: Do I live for the happy moments or do I live for the joyful moments?
If I were honest with myself, I think it would often be that I live for happy moments. I know this because I can sometimes find myself jealous, discontent, bored, despairing, or impatiently waiting for blessings not yet bestowed. There are a lot of inconsequential things that could trigger these negative feelings. It could be someone else’s museum trip in a city I used to live, a wonderful snowfall in the town I grew up, or a 1st year birthday party for a child of a blogger I don’t even know. These all seem to me like such happy moments, and I want them for myself. But these are temporal moments, meaning, you aren’t gong to bring them to heaven. And sometimes, I wonder if we are all starting to believe that because we snap a picture of it, these moments will be there forever.
I’ve found this even more in my heart as we moved from an “adventurous” city. There are times that I find myself discontent that I don’t have that level of adventure at my disposal anymore. This is interesting coming from me because although I grew to love DC in the end, that was mostly not the case when I lived there. It was there that I thought happiness would mean a slower or quieter life. But I lived there long enough that even though I’m not by nature an adventurous person, I’m more wired for adventure now. And so I try to seek experiences in my new city, exploring the sites and restaurants that meet the standard of happiness and adventure to which I have now become accustomed. There is a lot my new city has to offer. But there is one thing that it can never offer. And that is Joy.
I’ve learned since moving from DC that I am far too easily pleased with a life of good food and adventure. I know this because I am dissatisfied when I don’t have it. I’m not saying enjoying good food or having adventure is wrong. And I’m not saying you can’t have these things plus Joy. I’m just saying that no matter how much your life lives up to a standard of gourmet or adventure, it’s “mud pies in a slum” compared to the Joy found in Christ, to the joy we will experience in Heaven. If you set your hope in happiness, it will fail you. Maybe not today, but some day. If you set your hope in Christ, your eternal circumstances speak Joy over your life.
So let’s not be content with happy moments. Or be discontent with other’s happy moments. Let’s not be satisfied with temporal circumstances or with a heart that does not delight in the Lord. Let’s give our lives to sharing with others the Joy found in Christ. Let’s be like Christ, “who for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross” (Hebrews 12;2). This Joy was obedience to the fulfillment of God’s redemptive plan on earth, reconciling sinners to God the Father, even if it meant suffering. We know Joy will be found in heaven. And so we pray, let “your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” This joyful prayer is why Christ came, lived, and died. And because He came, lived, and died, this same Joy is offered to us today. Sure, I hope to snap a few happy pictures at Christmas. But these won’t be there in heaven. Christ will be all. Rejoice in Him today and long for His return. Let us live for more than just happy moments. Let us live full of Joy.