When Your Heart is Desperate for Joy

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith (Gal. 6:9–10).

Weary of Life

The apostle Paul speaks of a weariness that easily befalls us all. What is this weariness in doing good? How does this happen? How do we persevere?

Weariness and exhaustion in life are all too common for many of us. We go to work day after day, drive forty minutes plus, pick up the kids from soccer practice after work, drive home, make dinner, help with homework, and maybe live with someone we barely talk to (the list could go on), only to start it all again tomorrow. We can get to a point in life where we are almost on auto-pilot, going through a routine without much hope of something more.

In The Everlasting Man (Hodder & Stoughton, 1925), G. K. Chesterton has his finger on our problem:

Pessimism is not in being tired of evil but in being tired of good. Despair does not lie in being weary of suffering, but in being weary of joy. It is when for some reason or other good things in a society no longer work… when its food does not feed, when its cures do not cure, when its blessings refuse to bless.

Where did the joy go?

Duty without Delight

A duty in doing what is right—without any sense of delight—often drives us. We fear letting go. We fear of receiving from others what we ourselves cannot provide. We fear that what we do has no meaning. Yet, it is in such weariness that God calls out to us to give ourselves again to Jesus who gave all he had for our sake. This is the only way that we can again have joy.

Our clue to joy can be found in Jesus. In God’s Son, we find someone whose strength was spent to the last, whose work looked meaningless, and whose despair was the weight of the world (Heb. 5:8). Darkness descended upon him on the cross, but the strength of the Lord upheld him and did not let him see his work as empty or meaningless (Matt 27:45–46; Acts 2:22–27).

Why was Jesus willing to suffer like this? Why did he spend his days in such sorrow? He did so out of his great love for you and me. He endured it all, despising the shame, so we might share in God’s eternal joy forever (Heb. 12:2; John 3:16). That is what love does. It sees all things through hope. It looks upon shame and evil in this world with pity.

Love without Fear

Love overcomes fear through the sacrificial giving of ourselves. Love looks upon us in meekness and joy for what will be, even though shame and despair often fill us. This love that God has for us clothes us with joy and removes that desperation from our hearts.

Jesus brings a new way of life for us, one that has never existed before. This is our bright hope today. The joy that comes from the Lord and that is in the Lord is our strength (Neh. 8:10). We can have joy even in our suffering. For what we do has meaning and value because of Jesus.

Everyone we come into contact with is someone in need of this joy. Because we have been given that joy, we can now give it to others.

Joy for Today

God has moved heaven and earth to bring us to himself. He renews our joy by his presence and salvation, so that nothing can steal faith from our hearts. We do not need to grow weary but can go out like a mighty eagle, tirelessly flying the skies (Isa. 40:31).

Indeed, in Jesus who was raised from despair and death, we have become more than conquerors through his love. Nothing can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus (Rom. 8:37–39). And so, joy is that virtue which includes in its arms all the peculiarities, sins, follies, and beauties of life for it is the arms of resurrection.

All the tasks before us each day are God’s tools to help others in their journey to him. He feeds children through us and instructs them in goodness and joy through our sacrifices. God uses us to help all of our neighbors and our enemies. Goodness, joy, hope—these gifts are ours to give freely to others!

Our actions, therefore, have great significance. We can persevere in the midst of despair by looking to God and embracing the joy that he has for us even now. We can endure when we see how we are now God’s instruments of righteousness, helping others persevere in his love that he sheds abroad in our hearts (Rom. 5:5).

What we sow in the ground of this world—if it is by faith—has eternal consequence (1 Cor. 15:58). This is why Paul can say “let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”

 

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