I wanted to prove her wrong. Christ is joy, she told me, rebuking my foul attitude. I objected. Look it up, she said, Search scripture.
Annoyed, I did. I scorned joy because I did not have it, and as such I did not want to be found without Christ.
All I could think was, the joy set before Him.
Matthew. Mark. Luke. John. I am winning. Acts. Romans. Google.
I found it. Hebrews 12:1-2.
I returned to my search, a robot combing through data while streams of living water coursed through my head. In my self-focused pursuit to prove her wrong I forgot a fundamental truth.
God’s word does not return void.
My stubbornly sullen, world-weary, hardened heart tried to resist.
Christ endured the cross because of the joy it would bring.
I sat there, persistent in my pathetic refusal of joy He won for me.
I returned to my search results, tried to numb the joint-and-marrow splitting word of God. I glazed over Hebrews only to be jerked to a halt by the results for James.
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds...
The attitude of my heart implied that the joy Christ sets before me is not worth the endurance of (momentary, light) present trials.
My heart began to yield to the life-giving word of God. I finished looking at the search results, but I no longer cared about them.
... let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us...
The sin of my impatience had hijacked the joy set before me. Impatience kept me fixated on an uncertain future and created frustration. But God does not command us to run the race with our eyes fixed on a future beyond our control. We are to run looking unto Jesus. He alone is the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God...
My heart relented, and I repented.
For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven
and do not return there but water the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.
For you shall go out in joy
and be led forth in peace...