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The Struggle for Joy

Job chapter 10 reveals Job’s struggle with being permitted to exist.

“Are not my days few? Then cease, and leave me alone, that I may find a little cheer before I go – and I shall not return – to the land of darkness and deep shadow, the land of gloom like thick darkness, like deep shadow without any order, where light is thick darkenss.”

We want to be left alone by the realities of this life at times. Life is difficult and there are many complaints we have and struggle with, some of us more than others. Either way, we all struggle pretty hard at times. Job’s tossing and turning through the night after night existence of his torment seemed to him to be insurmountable. Do you believe you may be at that point of loneliness and physical or emotional torment – or both?

Relationships are another place where we can wrestle and struggle for joy. Sometimes we have given up on finding joy in certain relationships and we begin thinking that we simply need to ignore the other person and cope with the reality of unsatisfying relationships. Remember our theme lately though, that when we give and serve we find far more joy in relationships than when we take and get.

Job was in an unusually trying situation where he’d lost his whole family except for a wife who was cursing God and Job’s very existence, or at least encouraging him to do so.

Where do each of us find ourselves this morning? Where are we looking for hope? Is it possible that in these shadowy places of contemplation and struggle, God is holding out hope for change? Hope for friendship and life in the midst of feeling all hope is lost?

I’d like to issue a challenge: I challenge us in Tuolumne County to give friendships that include gentle honesty a try. Try being more honest with one another while making an extra effort to apply gentleness, serving, giving, caring instead of mere cold truth. One of the dangers of being more honest in our relationships is that we can very easily use this honesty to get something said we’ve always wanted to say and in so doing really not serve the other person well at all. We effectively walk in the opposite direction, like this image of a tired older couple drifting apart. When we are gentle in our honesty, it gives the other person the opportunity to change and grow and become a better contributor in the relationship in the long-haul.

Where this gentle honesty bears the most fruit the most quickly is when it is from the heart and focused on self-growth first before God. When we see the log in our own eyes, to use the Biblical illustration, and we ask others to help us with the surgery, we are much more humble and gentle, having a very sore eye now, to gently point out concerns we have for others around us.

May we approach God’s throne of grace together and dance in the light! May these shadow lands of earthly living be turned into dancing and celebrating the goodness of our God in the land of the living, looking to Christ as our joy. One day, all believers will dance not in these shadows but in the full light of the glory of God. These struggles for joy are mere shadows of the glorious eternal revelry we will join in together before the throne of God one day.

Cheers, friends!

– Torrey

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