Joy Comes in the Morning

If you are a Christian, you have been sold a false bill of goods. Not because Christ has failed you. I’m not sure who dropped the ball, honestly. But it has fallen with a resounding thud, and I fear that no amount of mighty men will be able to pick it up again.
Somehow, we got it into our head that we could bring heaven to earth, that this could be our best life now, that if we’d just pray enough and tithe enough and smile enough, the brokenness of this world would simply recede into the background, a forgotten dream from nights long ago.
But you have been lied to. You thought that if you just lived a holy life, kept your nose clean, and stayed away from the big sins, all would be well. But we are not well. We are very, very sick. Sick with the stench of this earth’s sin. It belches it out, gushing heaps of miry clay onto what otherwise was a pretty nice-looking universe.
Children will still cry. Cars will still fail. Bills will still accumulate. Relationships will be broken. Cancers and cankers and ulcers will abound. You will not escape it. It will hunt you down, the hound of hell scenting the stench of your sin-stained blood.
But all is not lost.
Amidst the headache and heartache and gut-wrenching grief of traversing this accursed world lies a glint. It looks as if it mustn’t even be there, it’s so far in the distance. You’ve seen it in your waking hours, just as you glimpse out the window, before you put your glasses on. It tickles your dreams, belying some echo of what could be, what perhaps once was.
But it’s real. It’s very real. It is the realest of all realities. It is not an alternate universe. It is the universe. That pain you’re experiencing, that hurt you’ve endured, is a marker. It’s pointing you to something. Something far better than any utopia you’ve fashioned, any heaven on earth that you have imagined.
The hope of the gospel is not that we will enjoy a “blessed and highly favored” life this side of eternity. We will not. We will grieve, we will wretch, we will scream into the night sky “Why?!” We will wonder if it is all worth it, and why it must be so accursed as it is.
And, Jesus will say, “I endured far worse, so that you could enjoy far better.” He would say, “Don’t settle for the best this world can offer. Long for the Christ who is better than all.”
He endured the cross, despising its shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God, for the joy that was set before Him. For the joy. He endured, for the joy. He knew what awaited Him, and you can know what awaits you. Joy. Unspeakable, unfathomable, sin-smashing, pain-obliterating joy.
So, endure. After all, joy comes in the morning. And mourn you shall. But, oh the joy that awaits you. As Paul said, it will decimate whatever suffering you endured. Your best life is just around the bend, and you’re gonna make it.
You’re going to be just fine.
–Jeremy Luman

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