Mom found joy in life. Even when her life was hard, painful, disappointing and oftentimes full of difficult people, she radiated joy. It is very safe to say that she had joy in her relationship with other true Christians and she found joy in showing mercy even if it was at the expense of her personal comfort. She also had great joy in her family, her grandchildren and her great grandchildren. She lived a joyful life in expectation of fullness of joy, and I can safely say she is now experiencing the fullness of joy with her Savior.
During yesterday’s worship service, Pastor Steve Schultz was our guest preacher and his sermon struck home with me and reminded me of mom. The main idea was “You can always find joy in your relationship with other believers.” His text was 1 Thessalonians 3, with a portion of the message focused on verses 8-10: “For now we live, if you are standing fast in the Lord. For what thanksgiving can we return to God for you, for all the joy that we feel for your sake before our God, as we pray most earnestly night and day that we may see you face to face and supply what is lacking in your faith?”
Mom’s faith was not content with “fleeting pleasures.” She was ravenous for joy. The scriptures say, “In your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11). Mom’s faith would not be sidetracked into sin or hampered by the frustrations, pains and sorrows of this life. She would not give up easily in her quest for maximum joy. That meant she spent time with believers in her Messiah, even if the other believers were imperfect like she was.
Paul Tripp said this: “Merciful people want something more significant than personal happiness. Mercy finds more joy in doing God’s will than happiness in a comfortable, predictable life. Mercy is willing to forsake personal comfort to bring God’s comfort to someone else. Mercy is more motivated by what God is seeking to do in a relationship than by what we want to get from one.”
Jesus and the hosts of heaven also have joy when it comes to repenting and believing: “Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.” Luke 15:7 ESV