One of the great lies that our world often believes is that all we actually have is today. (This is one of the great lies that fuels a whole lot of really stupid purchases. All you have is right now–before the sale ends.)
Let us eat, and drink, and be merry for tomorrow we may die. In the ancient world this was the philosophy known as epicureanism. This [lie] is why we’re constantly perplexed by the perceived need of instant gratification. There’s no telling what tomorrow holds so I better avoid as much pain as possible and pursue as much pleasure as I can in the moment.
But this is not the picture of joy in Isaiah. He has a much more dynamic, multidimensional picture of joy. …what Isaiah is saying is this, if you want joy it has to be sourced from the future. Joy has to be sourced from the future.
What do I mean by ‘joy has to be sourced from the future?’ Do I mean you have to have a flux capacitor and be friends with Doctor Emmett Brown?
Have you ever planned a trip? You plan a trip, you bought your airplane tickets maybe. You’ve got your hotel already reserved. And you’re ready to go.
And how can you handle another day at the office? Another day of sorting laundry? You know, really soon, you’re getting on that airplane. It’s coming. The future is sourcing the present with excitement and anticipation.” (Matt Bowen)
At the end of the service he asked us to write down three sources of joy, things that aren’t dependent on current circumstances. I wrote down these three:
- I have a way to salvation–Jesus–provided to me by my loving Father in heaven.
- I have the hope of heaven.
- I can communicate with my Father in heaven in prayer, no matter what might happen.
All these I have, no matter what my circumstances, and all are a source of great joy. And the gift of Jesus is what makes it all come to life.
Bowen puts it this way: “The things that we do to achieve joy are tenuous, they can be toppled. But the things God does are forever, they’re eternal. Joy is the ongoing celebration of the things that God has done and will last forever: a relationship with Him and the hope of a new creation.”
What did I miss on my list of 3 sources of joy? What would you write down as a source of joy?
References and Resources
Matt Bowen’s 12/13/1015, 11 AM teaching, Joy, Isaiah 25:6-9