Matins Devotion: September 12, 2023
Joy is a gift, not a task. Joy is something God hands you. It’s not something you can only build with whatever materials the world lets you have. When it comes to living a life of rejoicing, you are not at the mercy of this merciless world of sorrows. You can live that life in any situation because the God of mercy has poured out His mercy upon you in the blood of Jesus Christ and ended your sorrows.
If you find yourself surrounded by abundance, you can rejoice. When your bank account is full, when your marriage is peaceful, when your nation is prosperous, when your children are healthy, when your friends love and support you, you can live free from the lingering anxiety that these gifts won’t last. Because the God who gave all those gifts to you has given you an even greater gift in the forgiveness of His Son–a gift that lasts forever even while all other blessings and comforts can decay over time or vanish in an instant.
If you find yourself surrounded by suffering, you can still rejoice. When you are in danger of going hungry, when your marriage is falling apart, when your nation wants to imprison you, when your children are torn apart by disease of the flesh or disease of the spirit, when they despise you because they despise your God, when your friends abandon you and betray you, you can still live free from the anxiety that these afflictions are going to last. They won’t. They will all be but a laughably distant memory when the Lord who used them to strengthen you and conform you to the image of His Son lifts you up on the last day. And you don’t even need to wait for that day to live a life of screaming joy that drowns out all howling sorrow because the sin-destroying victory of Jesus Christ has already been made your own. The antidote to anxiety has coated your flesh since the moment you were washed in the death-and-resurrection delivering waters of holy baptism. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, has already been placed into your lap.
In all things, whether you are made low or lifted up high, you can rejoice because, in all things, the gift of salvation is already yours. Your sins are forgiven. You will live with Christ forever. You have crushed and will crush Satan and this world of sorrows under your feet. That’s the gift of joy God has already given you. You don’t need the world’s permission to use that gift. So use it.