“But let the righteous be joyful;
let them exult before God;
let them be jubilant with joy.”

Psalm 68:3

JOY, A PERMANENT POSSESSION

As we were walking the final mile of our ten-mile hike, my hiking companion looked up and saw the ridge we had just been walking, and exclaimed, “Wow, we were just up there.” In turn, I looked up; and saw the ridge many miles away in the distance. Much higher than we were walking this last mile. My companion was filled with joy at what had been accomplished. A joy that was expressed silently, revealed in a knowing look of satisfaction.

The journey and the day had been long. The journey contained the vital first steps of starting out. Later replaced with steep climbs over stairs of logs and along cutbacks. There were times that the climbs seemed longer than possible, requiring a heads down one foot at a time effort to cope. These climbs exhausted us and seemingly when  we thought we could go no further, we found the energy to do just a little more. A steep and steady climb that tested our abilities.

Our reward at the top was an expansive view of the countryside’s deep valleys and rivers. We also knew that going down was easier and would give us time to immerse ourselves in the beauty of nature. There would be streams to cross and long winding paths through a canopy of green.

When the hike is over we are filled with joy. Joy in what we accomplished. Joy in being alone in God’s majestic canvas of nature. Joy that we finished and took no shortcuts, just slow and wonderful steps.

In all, there are twenty thousand steps in a ten-mile hike. On some hikes you can climb over twenty-five hundred feet or a half mile in the air. A long but joyful walk.

Joy is different than happiness. Happiness is fleeting and a temporary state. Joy is permanent. The effort we put in isn’t always easy, but always rewarding. The effort will always be remembered. Happiness will melt away as quickly as it arrived. Accomplishments create joy and will never disappear.

So, it is with our faith. There are many steps to march. There are many times where faithful patience is required. Faith that is practiced with a rhythmic consistency becomes a permanent companion.

Life approached looking for happiness will always leave us thirsty for purpose. Life led to create joy will lead us to a life of permanent purpose.

We pray for a jubilant life filled with joy.

Blessings, until next time,
Bruce L. Hartman

Photo by Matt Lamers

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