Saturday, February 19, 2011

"A Greater Pleasure"

         When the true nature of a world that "passeth away" becomes more realized, and when we feel the inherent weakness of our humanity, we find ourselves in a good place (I John 2:7; Psalm 144:4).
    "And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for My strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong" (II Corinthians 12:9-10).
    Of course, it doesn't feel good to experience the challenges and weaknesses of which the Apostle Paul wrote.  Our brother of old did not write that he felt pleasure, but that "I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake."  Paul knew the truth of sufficient grace, and of strength made perfect in weakness.  God had revealed such glory to him, and upon the basis of his Lord's promise, the Apostle chose to view difficulty from a heavenly rather than an earthly perspective.
    Our Heavenly Father calls us to the same reorientation of pleasure taken by faith rather than felt by sensation.  At the outset of our challenges, happy emotions will rarely originate our response.  Our humanity rather feels the reality of the fallen world in which we live, leading to the sense of dissatisfaction, irritation, anger, fear, sorrow and perhaps even grief.  We do not feel pleasure.  However, if we know the Truth and have submitted ourselves to the glory of God, a foundation for a greater pleasure awaits.  We determine to trust Him, thereby bringing pleasure to His heart.  Deep within, our own hearts are blessed as well in a sensibility far beyond mere emotion.  We know that "God is the strength of my heart, and my portion forever" (Psalm 73:26).  And we know that such faith honors him.  For the trusting believer, no greater joy exists.
    Such grace known and "taken" subsequently leads to emotional happiness.  It may take time, and we do not concern ourselves with when and how good feelings will come to us.  It is enough to know that we are doing the will of God, and the deep spiritual joy of such assurance so transcends feeling that we are "sorrowful, yet always rejoicing" (II Corinthians 6:10).  Rather than seeking happiness in circumstance, situation and condition, we affirm with David the glory of a greater pleasure...
"Then will I go unto the altar of God, unto God my exceeding joy."
(Psalm 43:4)
"Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labor of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stall: yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation."
(Habbakuk 3:17-18).

No comments: