THE REWARD OF FOLLOWING JESUS is joy. Joyful living is when we are always moving toward something new and not stuck in the old. Joy is about experiencing life as refreshed and renewed. There is no “old” joy.
The good news of the gospel is that Jesus wants to give us his joy. The joy Jesus promises is something very different from happiness. Often what people call “joy” is really only temporary relief from the pain they experience. Joy and suffering do not go together. Yet some people who have experienced great agony have been joyful because something greater than their suffering was present. Many of the great saints—Francis of Assisi, Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross—understood that human suffering allowed them to grow closer to Christ’s suffering on the cross. So suffering and joy are not necessarily in tension. God’s grace brings our human pain home to the place where God’s joy resides so that we can know God’s joy no matter what is going on in our lives. This is the gift of love: “May my joy be in you, and may your joy be complete” (see John 15:11).
-Henri J. M. Nouwen
A Spirituality of Homecoming
From pages 48-49 of A Spirituality of Homecoming by Henri J. M. Nouwen with John S. Mogabgab, Series Editor. Copyright © 2012 The Henri Nouwen Legacy Trust. All rights reserved. Used by permission. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.
Share your own definition of joy. Share your thoughts.
Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.”
John 20:29, NRSV
This Week: pray those who new believers. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section below.
Did You Know?
Need a Spiritual Retreat? Join us at SOULfeast, the Upper Room’s spiritual retreat at Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center in the beautiful Smoky Mountains, July 14-18, 2013. Come discover how, as the Holy Spirit washes over us, this powerful presence brings us alive to God, community, transformation, and missions in the here and now. For more information, visit soulfeast.upperroom.org.
This week we remember
Martin Luther King Jr. (April 4).
(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)
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