Given the opportunity to experience joy, are we morally obligated to take advantage?
My cousin Vince sent me a text in the hours between night and morning – just a little note about he and his new college friends wrestling with the idea of joy.
It’s something I’ve been in the middle of pondering for a couple days and reading his text in partial wakefulness brought it into clearer view – what do we do when joy is on the other side of an open door?
“Taste and see that the Lord is good,” from Psalm 34:8 and “Delight in the Lord and He will give the desires of your heart,” from Psalm 37:4 both imply action before experience. A person can read these verses a hundred times, recite them with monk-like stoicism and meditate on them with scholarly reverence. But, there is a threshold implied in the command, for tasting and seeing happen only with open mouth and eyes.
Something must be eaten to be tasted, no?
Something must be experienced before it is pronounced delightful, no?
What do these open doors to joy look like and how many have I walked by?
It’s crazy how relentless God is to pursue us with opportunities to experience Him. He doesn’t give up when I pass by an open door marked “FOR YOUR JOY” with a foolish hope that there is something better down the road. He doesn’t flinch when I’ve opted out of His best for my safe settling of just okay. His patience in pursuit overwhelms me because it’s so altogether different from our apathetic inclinations.
I’m still thinking through these joy questions – still trying to figure out if it’s a sin to walk by those open doors clearly marked for God’s glory and my joy. But I’m not confused about joy being good. It’s something I’m willing to fight for.
Here are some helpful ways to fight for joy, from John Piper at Desiring God.