I’ve never been a Shakespeare fan. He is listed as one of the greatest writers of all time, and I just don’t understand anything he says – or what the characters are saying. We were supposed to read his works in High School, and I say “supposed” because I didn’t. I just came to class the next day, sat through a lecture spoken in modern English, and I had all I needed. I get it – Juliet’s lines sound more poetic as written:
How camest thou hither, tell me, and wherefore?
The orchard walls are high and hard to climb,
And the place death, considering who thou art,
If any of my kinsmen find thee here.
But people like me just wish she said, “Romeo, I don’t know how you got in here, but if my Dad finds out, you’re dead!” See how easy that was? In all sincerity, people get caught up with Romeo and Juliet because of the tension between their families, their forbidden love and what could have been. The joy they shared in loving one another was so fleeting, and we read it with regret – wishing they had more time.
Joy is one of those Fruits of the Spirit we can’t seem to hold onto. We have it and then we lose it. We get married and have great joy, and then we lose it at our first fight. We wish we had more of it, but it seems the tighter we try to hold onto it the less likely we can contain it. Something is always stealing it away from us. Or is it?
We all have experienced natural joy, but it comes and goes because things in this life just don’t last no matter how much we want them to. Vacations are great, but you eventually have to come back home and face real life. If we want lasting joy, we have to experience a joy which does not originate in what this world can give us. Hmmmmmm – where can we find such a joy?
One place is your salvation! Matthew 13:44 tells us we’ve found a great treasure in Christ. You can find temporary joy in your own personal pursuits and choosing your own way, but you’ll find lasting joy following His ways and pursuing the passions of God. Salvation reminds us how much our LORD loves us. He gave His life for ours, so we can find forgiveness when we repent of our sins. If you want joy, find it in knowing and experiencing what God has done for you! Knowing you don’t have to pay for your sins with eternal separation from your Creator should spark a joy in you which cannot be snuffed out because it isn’t dependent on anything except for what has already been accomplished and cannot be changed.
Another place you’ll find lasting joy is in God, Himself! We lack joy because we found it in other people who failed us, left us or maybe are no longer with us. No wonder you’re so depressed, and we know you’re depressed because you post about how lonely, sad, confused and bewildered you are on Facebook every 15 minutes! Just realize, you’re choosing to live that way, but you don’t have to. Get to know the God you serve, how He loves you and how He is more than enough for you in all seasons of life.
Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.
Misplaced hope is a joy killer, so find joy in the One who never lets anyone down – God!
It’s time you experienced real joy in the work of Christ in your life and the God you serve! Stop crying about Romeo and Juliet – it’s just a book!