Be Thou my vision…
An ancient Irish hymn
Where does your joy come from? Or (the King James Version, in keeping with the seed), from whence does your joy come?
Christians might answer, “From God you ninny!” Forgive me for the all too obvious and insulting question, but it’s an important one. Also, I bet your answer, though correct, is contrived.
When the light of Christ honestly shines down into your soul, how do you answer the question? From whence does your joy truly come? I bet it’s source is other than it should be for most of us.
I used the semi-personal pronoun ‘us’ with definite purpose. Why? Because I include myself in the chastisement. Knowing myself better than I ken anyone else (see how I continue to hearken back to language gone by? A simple point of cohesion.), I allow that my joy often has an ill-reckoned foundation.
Now for an example.
I am a sports lover, but there is one particular sport I set on its own pedestal. It is, without any doubt, my favorite by far: baseball. I love everything about it. And one team in particular raises my fanaticism to a fever pitch…the Kansas City Royals.
I come by this love honestly. I grew up on the country outskirts of KC, MO in the previous heyday of my beloved Royals. Brett at third, White at second, Wilson chasing down flies in center field and Leonard on the mound. My pulse increases just remembering the happiness they gave me.
A few nights ago my favorite team’s manager made a boneheaded move (the adjective is subjective as you will see). All season, Jason Hamel has been good for about five innings and then he needs to come out. Ned Yost, said manager, left him in too long and a 3-0 lead became a 3-3 tie which eventually turned into a 5-3 loss.
I was incensed. HOW could Yost not do something every KC fan watching or listening to the game was begging him to do? Instead of leaving him in for the third batter (who hit a 3-run homer), why not take him out after he gave up two singles? By the way, those were the first two hits Hamel had given up all game. He was obviously in trouble. At least it was obvious to every sane person watching the game with the exception of Ned Yost.
How’s that for a passionate and deluded fan? Thinking I know more than a man whose major league career spans almost four decades? Yes that’s a delusion. But it’s also not the point of this post.
I was angry (as I said, incensed) and it upset me for the rest of the day. I was still thinking about it the next day as I sat down to read a Royals blog hoping to find others who agreed with my outrage. What did I find? Yes, some outrage, but reason also. Through 5 innings Hamel was pitching a no-hitter. Why would Ned think he would fall apart which would prompt getting someone warm in the bullpen? As soon as Hamel gave up the two singles, Ned had someone warming and the new pitcher was not ready when the third batter hit a homerun. A simple, logical explanation.
The point is this; why did I invest so much emotion in a baseball game? Sure, I get a great deal of enjoyment out of watching the Royals, but that shouldn’t affect me as it sometimes does.
In reality, the emotion I felt was just that…an emotion. A chemical reaction based on the pleasure I had experienced prior to that event. Watching and reading about the Royals makes me happy (or infuriates me depending on the flow of the game). But I need to recognize the temporary nature of the feeling and prioritize the entertainment I am witnessing.
From whence comes my joy? The answer truly is, “From God.” There is no other source.
Emotions may play within my brain, prancing by the windows of my conscious, fleeting responses to situations and experiences. But God is my constant joy.
He is my vision. He is the rock that keeps me constant and well-founded.
Thus, I seek to minimize the influence of the temporal and temporary. I ask God to remind me from whence cometh my joy.
Where, you ask?
Nehemiah 8:10 “the joy of the Lord is your strength.”
Job 33:26 “He shall pray unto God, and He will be favorable unto him; and he shall see His face with joy”
Isaiah 65:14 “My servants shall sing for joy of heart”
John 15:10,11 “If ye keep My commandments, ye shall abide in My love; even as I have kept My Father’s commandments, and abide in His love. These things have I spoken unto you, that your joy might be full”
And saving the best for last…
Hebrews 12:2 “Looking unto Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith; Who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit is/are our joy. Happiness is fleeting; JOY, for the Christian, is eternal.