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Where is the Joy?

Periodically, members of our elder board will be writing these weekly emails to minister to the congregation. Enjoy this post from Steve Hannah.


They say that money can’t buy happiness. Yeah, sure. Like we believe that, right? Maybe money can’t buy happiness, but it can sure buy the things that bring happiness, can’t it?  
Certainly, the world believes that. The world view is that even if money can’t buy happiness, it’s a really good down payment.  
While most of us know in our heart that money or wealth or success cannot bring true happiness, we are surprised, even amazed, when we see people in real poverty who appear to have joy that the rich, like us, often don’t have. How do you explain that?  
It’s truly startling to see desperately poor people in Tanzania and other poor countries with obvious happiness and genuine joy in their lives. We can’t help but wonder to ourselves, what have they got to be happy about? Don’t they know they’re poor?
In our Tuesday morning men’s Bible Study, someone asked Pastor Abel, a man we partner with in our Tanzania ministries, that very question during his recent visit. Pastor Abel didn’t even hesitate. He replied that joy – real joy – can only be found in our relationship with Jesus Christ. 
He went on to explain that the poorest of the poor in Tanzania don’t have riches and “stuff” to put their trust in or to seek happiness in. So, they have learned and they practice putting their faith and their happiness in the Lord.
There is a lot of wisdom in that seemingly simple comment. The Books of Proverbs and Psalms are replete with the truth that joy is found most fully and completely in God.  
The Psalmist assures us that “… in Your presence is fullness of joy…” (Ps 16:11) and “my lips will shout for joy when I sing praises to you…” (Ps 71:23). King Solomon promises that “the hope of the righteous brings joy”.   
C.S. Lewis says it this way in his straight-to-the-point style, “Joy is the serious business of Heaven”. We should always seek to be in God’s presence in our prayers, in the Word, in our devotions, in our daily life; and we will surely find joy and happiness there.
Perhaps the lesson here is to examine our hearts when we feel the joy and happiness in our lives are missing. Think about where and in what you are seeking joy. Is it in your money, your career, your reputation and fame, your possessions, or even your family?   
Or is it in the Lord? The former will always let us down and leave us unfilled.  We will always feel like something is missing. The answer, the only answer, is in our glorious and loving God.
We can learn much from the poverty stricken and impoverished of the world, because they have found joy in the Lord and seem to understand it can be found nowhere else.

See you Sunday!