Sacred Delight (Joy That Endures)

When I’m experiencing pain and suffering (which happens on a daily basis), my first response is not joy. If I’m honest, I’d have to admit that my first impulse is usually fear, anxiety, or sometimes anger and frustration. Occasionally there’s a “why me” pity party in there just for good measure - but I’m learning, growing, and slowly being transformed in how I deal with hard times, and hopefully I look a little bit more like Jesus than I did eight years ago when my journey through chronic pain started.

How about you? What is your knee-jerk response when hard times come your way? The life of Jesus serves as our guide when we think about this question; Max Lucado talks about this in his devotional for today titled “Sacred Delight.” Jesus knew suffering, knew what it was like to be accused of a crime he didn’t commit, knew the heartbreak of rejection and abandonment. If I put myself in his shoes, I know I’d probably break, maybe lash out or be consumed with bitterness, but Jesus didn’t do any of those thing. Instead he had what Max calls “stubborn joy.”

What exactly is “stubborn joy?” Lucado describes it like this:

Jesus embodied a stubborn joy. A joy that held its ground against pain. A joy whose roots extended deep into the bedrock of eternity.

What type of joy is this? What is the source of this peace that defies pain?

I call it sacred delight.

Jesus had sacred delight - and so can we. It’s a gift to those who follow Christ that only God can give. The choice is ours - will we walk the path of bitterness, fear, and anger, or will we let God renew our hearts and minds so that when hard times come we too will radiate with sacred delight?