A Plot for Joy
I am less inclined now to watch movies or TV series that have dramatic tones. Who needs it when one is living it? Who needs tearjerking scenes when tears are one's bedfellow? I am smack dab into emotional scenes complete with screaming, tears, intrigues, manipulations, exaggerations, and characters that are way too colorful to be normal. If I have guts, I would be writing about my current life and make it into a movie. It is just too intriguing, with a plot... ah, the plot... that goes nowhere.
And that's why I want change. There has to be a way out of this cage of a plot!
Then there was Paul. He lived a hard life as a follower of Jesus--- persecuted, misunderstood, hated, troubled. Tension, adventure and drama were usual fare. Yet he was able to say in 2 Corinthians 4:8, 9: "We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed." He lived life joyfully despite of all that happened and was done to him.
What was his secret?
A focus on Jesus and the destination. The following verse says, "Every day we experience something of the death of the Lord Jesus, so that we may also know the power of the life of Jesus in these bodies of ours" (verse 10, PHILLIPS). It didn't matter to him what was happening for he knew whom he belong. And he knew that what was happening is a means to a wonderful, divine end. And as he remembered what Jesus did for him, he took hold of Christ and lived a life of power. The earthly didn't matter to him as much as what awaits for him. "Because we know that the One who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to himself" (verse 14).
With the victory we have in Jesus, why do we despair? With His power working in our lives, why are we discouraged? With Jesus and all of heaven waiting for us, what's holding us back to live a a joy-filled life?
"Therefore we do not lose heart," exhorts Paul. He who has known what it is like to have nothing. "Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day" (verse 16).
Being thankful. Because wealth is not really about material things, but the richness of the soul. The "being" more than the act. Something unseen, something eternal. Perhaps it's time to ask ourselves what we count as "wealth".
"So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal" (verse 18).
The snow is falling outside. It's a sight to behold, a far cry from this morning when the kids and I had our walk to the playground. It was muddy then. Right now, it's a wonderland of glistening white, from the rooftops, to the trees, to the earth below.
Change is ours. The plot may seem to go on and on endlessly, drama and tension an expected part of life, but over and above that is joy that knows no bounds. Joy focused on the Giver and His millions of gifts-- life, power, victory, redemption... and joy.
It's up to me (and for you) to choose a different role to play. Change the plot. Focus on Jesus. Choose joy.
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