Joy In Heart Ache

2 Corinthians 6:10 makes a sobering yet inspiring statement when it declares, “our hearts ache, but we always have joy”.

Clearly, this is applicable and possible for believers in Jesus Christ. Yet, it also seems to remain allusive, or even misunderstood. For so often we desire God to zap us away from all the heart ache. We want to be cured from our wounds, our losses, our pains, our sorrows, and our disappointments.

But even Jesus wasn’t removed from these things. We know He wept, He held sorrow, He knew pain, and He faced loss, but we also know He did it all without any loss of joy.

It’s not a happiness, but the richness of a joy from knowing the story doesn’t end poorly for those in Christ. It continues in victory. The joy is in embracing God’s goodness and power. Trusting His love is true, endless, and kind. And living with abounding hope that all His promises are real and possible.

It’s a joy in knowing how to share grief, how to truly feel the losses, see the brokenness, but not being made hopeless by them. It’s an understanding that this is not our home. It’s a fallen place, and we are on mission’s of hope, fueled by love, and made relevant by faith.

For me it’s also been lessons in becoming fully present. Learning to slow down and truly experiencing the moments as they come – not trying to escape them, avoid them, or even coveting and clinging to them. It’s being present with them, while not defining my life by them.

I used to look to travels, drinks, work, and/or even relationships to numb the pains and heart aches of life. I looked to them to save me from the realities of life – a wanderlust. I was always looking forward to the next thrill to dull my senses to the shadows of life.

That is until every thrill began to fade and dull – almost like a coral reef once full of vitality, life and color, as it dies, turns dull, dark, and gray.

The “thrills” no longer worked – although they never really did.

The question became, and is, where is my primary delight? I would want to look to my marriage, my purchases, my vacations, my dreams, my work, my “addictions”. Whatever I could – but they of course would all fall short.

This is because our primary delight can only be in God, and not in, or from any of these other “things”, although some may be very good, they are never best.

Learning to slow down, still my mind, and being present in the moment isn’t easy, but knowing, and reminding myself to the fact that my delight is in God is joy restoration 101. For truly, He is my only hope, and as such, my joy isn’t lost. It may try to be “stolen”, but that too is my choice in lowering my guard to the enemy and abandoning my faith.

So in faith, I can feel, and be present without a loss of joy, because I’m not looking for my delight here, but in God, and all that brings.

This helps me experience and validate my heart aches better for what they are – reminders that this isn’t our home, this isn’t the end, and that while on earth, our hearts will always long for the homecoming of our Father’s Kingdom.

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