Good Thursday morning! At 22° this morning we know that spring has not quite sprung just yet. In a similar fashion, we are told that we are saved and that we should be happy about it. Yet, it seems that no feeling of happiness can cut through the darkness in the world around us. Some of our friends and neighbors remain unsaved and even uninterested in the life eternal that we share. Governments still oppress our brothers in Christ and our sisters in Christ are made to be martyrs all the time. Even in a land where we have a certain freedom of religion we sometimes suffer the slings and arrows from the voice and print crowd. How are we to feel happy about this? If Christ has won the victory, where is our victory celebration?
Of course, we have never been expected to feel happy about the condition of the world. Jesus wasn't happy about what would happen before his coronation and wedding in glory. He warned the disciples that much suffering would happen before the triumphant end time. Joy is what we have received, not happiness. We have gone over this before, but I need to be reminded of it at least this one more time. The events we see in this life are often a cause for sadness, not celebration. But we do see signs of what is to come.
Take something as simple as a bite of candy. In this world, too much candy has its consequences; we know that. However, that sweet taste we enjoy is a sign of things to come in Heaven and the New Earth. Sometimes in a dark moment, just a bite or two of chocolate can help lift our spirits. We don't have to ingest several thousand calories worth to get this lift, though we are often tempted to do just that. Imagine a place and a condition where you and I could eat chocolate all day and not fear a terrible stomach ache and the inevitable weight gain we have here on Earth. Imagine that in that place we might not even feel the urge to eat all day!
Looking to the Heaven to come is a good way of reminding ourselves that God made us to experience joy and happiness, and Jesus gave us joy through the Holy Spirit. We haven't received all of that gift yet. Each and every one of us will go through some tough times before we get there. As God completes his work in us, we will know the joy of knowing Him more. We have much to learn and much to work out in our salvation before the great day of our homecoming. We have a hope in our Lord Jesus, not in what we see around us. We should feel happy about our salvation because of who has accomplished this great work. The sadness we feel in this life from the suffering we feel and see is only temporary. Though it seems at times that the sadness will reach the very bottom of our souls; Jesus has promised to take it away when the time comes.
Reach forward to the promise of Jesus; live for that great day when we will see Christ!