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Everyday Joys

Take the time to see, hear, smell, touch, and taste the wonders of creation.
Read Time: 6 minutes

As believers in the Gospel, we should all have the foundational joy of knowing that our Heavenly Father has a plan and purpose for this earth and that He has invited us to be a part of a future world that has been fully restored (Revelation 21:1-5). That joy should allow us to endure the dark days we will inevitably face. This was the joy that was set before Jesus, enabling him to endure the cross and despise the shame (Hebrews 12:2). But what about finding joy in the everyday experiences of this life? 

We know that God created the earth with indescribable beauty and variety. He then placed us into this world with extraordinary senses that allow us to experience His creation in awe-inspiring ways. Surely, all this creation was done for our benefit and enjoyment: flowers radiant with beauty, the deafening roar of a magnificent waterfall, the aroma of baking bread, and the softness of a newborn baby’s skin. He’s also given us the joy of hundreds of pleasurable flavors.

In addition to this, He has given us relationships such as spouses, family, and community to experience love, friendship, loyalty, and security. Indeed, these are all gifts from our Heavenly Father intended to bring us joy and to fill our hearts with praise and gratitude.

Paul noticed the joys we experience in everyday life when he spoke to the people of Lystra. He instructed them that the good things of this world are a witness to God’s presence and His goodness. 

In past generations he allowed all the nations to walk in their own ways. Yet he did not leave himself without witness, for he did good by giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness. (Acts 14:16-17).1

Paul’s words echo David’s expression of gratitude when he wrote, 

The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food in due season. You open your hand; you satisfy the desire of every living thing. (Psalm 145:15-16).

King Solomon also said,

I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil—this is God’s gift to man. (Ecclesiastes 3:12-13).

Based on these truths, we should cherish and meditate on the many joyful moments we experience daily and then use them to fuel our praise and gratitude. However, I’m guessing that most of us are not cherishing these joyful moments to the extent we should, or perhaps we’re not even perceiving them. Why is this the case, and what is the remedy?

There may be many reasons why we fail to recognize God’s gifts, but I suggest that for the majority of us, it is simply because we pay attention to things that don’t bring joy. Like children in a cereal aisle at the grocery store, we focus on and end up consuming products that are packed with sugar but bereft of any nutritional value. We expose ourselves to content that increases feelings of covetousness, anxiety, sadness, anger, and/or helplessness. 

But as serious an issue is the amount of time we throw away. Hour after hour, day after day, we choose to fill our time with unfruitful activities. Andrew Sullivan is an author who chose to go into a meditation retreat to help him heal from his technology addiction. In an article about his experience called I Used To Be Human, he made an insightful and sobering comment about the disintegration of faith in the Western world. 

The reason we live in a culture increasingly without faith is not because science has somehow disproved the unprovable, but because the white noise of secularism has removed the very stillness in which it might endure or be reborn.”2

I believe the same can be said for joy. If we struggle to find joy in our days, perhaps we need to recognize the amount of white noise in our lives and start aggressively carving out times of stillness. “Be still, and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10).

We can work towards this goal by spending more time in the environment God has created for us. Take the time to see, hear, smell, touch, and taste the wonders of creation. Sometimes, we see it in the great things like deep canyons, vast oceans, and majestic mountains. But we can also be in awe of the tiny things like honeybees, apple blossoms, and the aroma of lilacs. We can then challenge ourselves to meditate on the spiritual lessons each can bring us.

We can also look to Jesus. Too often, some have characterized him as a sullen and stoic person. However, there is much anecdotal evidence to suggest he was joyful. We know he wanted the young children to be near him and directed us to receive the Kingdom of God like a child (Luke 18:15-17). We know well the joy children express when receiving a gift. Jesus also spoke of the joy of finding treasures (Matthew 13:44-46) and things that were lost (Luke 15). Even an erroneous accusation of being a drunkard and a glutton (Luke 7:34) does suggest a man who would frequently be found smiling and laughing.

We can learn that despite the intense demands on his time and energy, he prioritized setting aside time for stillness. 

But now even more the report about him went abroad, and great crowds gathered to hear him and to be healed of their infirmities. But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray.” (Luke 5:15-16).

Let’s prioritize following our Master by setting aside time each day to be with our God. Be insistent about setting a time each day to meet with God and His Son to read, pray, and meditate. Psalm 119:1-2 (NLT), which we know is primarily focused on the Word of God, begins this way:

Joyful are the people of integrity, who follow the instructions of the LORD. Joyful are those who obey His laws and search for Him with all their hearts.

There is joy in the wonders of His word. Consider the intellectual challenges it presents, the wisdom it provides for daily living, and its infusion of meaning and purpose. 

We also know Jesus was devoted to relationships and the associated joys that spring from them. The writings of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are filled with accounts of his travels, meals, conversations, and gatherings with people. Perhaps the most significant joys he experienced were the many times he healed people of their physical and spiritual infirmities and saw the looks of astonishment, thankfulness, and delight on their faces.

Are we ensuring that our interactions with brothers and sisters go beyond the short visits on a Sunday or at a midweek Bible Class? Our time together must be prioritized as it was for Jesus with his disciples. When answering what the greatest commandment was, he took the time to direct our attention to a second great commandment. “And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:39).

Let’s consider for a moment the implications of a life attuned to the joyful gifts of God. In a world of increasing anxiety, worry, and stress, where men’s hearts are failing themselves for fear, a Biblically joyful perspective can act as a circuit breaker. Our voice of positivity and joy can inject a different perspective, something more attractive than despair.

Without denying that we live in a world under numerous threats, our anti-anxious perspective that focuses on the joys of each day can direct those around us to the fact that we have a loving Heavenly Father—a Father who is in control and has a plan and purpose, where things that are true, beautiful, and lovely are victorious. 

Every four years, the world holds the Winter Olympics. On occasion, the hockey team I cheer for has made it to the gold medal game. During the final game, I am a bundle of nerves. My heart races, and my emotions surge from anger and despair to jubilation. I pace the floor and cry out at perceived injustices. Looking back, I can’t say I enjoyed the experience, and I don’t think people enjoy being around me.

However, if my team wins, there is something I do enjoy doing. I love to watch a replay of the game. While watching it a second time, knowing the positive outcome, I thoroughly enjoy every aspect. My anxiety, my anger, and my despair are all gone. I can smile at the ups and downs. Shouldn’t this be our perspective as we walk through this life? Shouldn’t we be overjoyed knowing the outcome?  

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (I Corinthians 15:56-57).

There will be times in all of our lives when joys will be more challenging to see, smell, hear, taste, and feel.  If we are diligent about carving out times of stillness, enjoying fellowship with our brothers and sisters, and spending time walking with our God, surely an attitude directed towards joy will shine through. May that persistent, joyful attitude bring glory to a God who loves us deeply.

Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NLT).

John Perks,
Ottawa Ecclesia, ON

  1. All Scriptural citations are taken from the English Standard Version, unless specifically noted.
  2. I Used to Be Human, Andrew Sullivan, September 19, 2016, New York Magazine.
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