Surprised by Joy — Morning Devotions - Hope 103.2

Surprised by Joy — Morning Devotions

If you come today with a broken heart, meet Jesus, who knows death and grief and life from the inside, and walks alongside us.

By Chris WittsMonday 10 Jun 2024Morning Devotions with Chris WittsFaithReading Time: 1 minute

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Back in 1993 the Oscar nominated movie Shadowlands was released. Now I remember this movie Wonderful to watch it even again today. The story of Professor CS. Lewis, his courtship and marriage to the American Joy Gresham CS Lewis was a world-renowned Christian theologian, a writer and a professor.

The pair married in a civil ceremony in 1956 so that joy could keep her British residency. Almost a year after that, Joy falls seriously ill. He begins to realise just how much he does love her, and in 1957 they’re married before God in a church sanctioned ceremony. Joy’s illness is a serious matter, and while they did get to spend a few years together, the time is all too short.

The surprise of joy

She dies shortly after, and Lewis started to write his remarkable book Surprised by Joy, which is not so much about his late wife joy, but about discovering the nature of joy in his life, his conversion from atheism to Christianity. And he found that faith in a loving god gave him really true meaning and joy. He was connected with God for the first time in his life, he experience something you’d never had before, and the book is a fascinating work of nonfiction.

He talks about his childhood in Belfast, Northern Ireland, the loss of his mother at a young age, the trauma of World War I and the encounters of joy he experienced through music, landscape, literature and mythology.

And this led him to Jesus Christ, the true source of all goodness, truth and beauty. Coming to know Christ was the greatest thing that ever happened to him, and he writes about this the spiritual wilderness trying to run from God. He didn’t believe in God, but God was looking for.

The pathway of conversion for C.S. Lewis

And he wrote, ‘you must picture me alone in my room, night after night, feeling whenever my mind lifted, even for a second from my work, the steady, unrelenting approach of him whom I so earnestly desired not to meet, he knelt and prayed and said, perhaps that night he was the most dejected and reluctant convert in all England’. He began to attend church. He read the gospel stories, and he said the gospel started to make sense. It was this joy that led him nearer and nearer to God. It was the late Henri Nan who said, Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day.

Joy is often confused with happiness, but the two things are different. When we start comparing ourselves with others, we become sad. It was Mark Twain who said the comparison is the death of joy because comparison robs you of your contentment. When you start looking at others comparing, you know their weight, their wealth or whatever else you start to lose your own identity. You lose the joy in your life so really joy can be found in the simple things of life.

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If you’re looking for what God has blessed you with, he will give you moments of joy. And the most amazing thing is this.

The joy that God gives is permanent. It doesn’t fluctuate like happiness does. God promises his holy spirit to his people as a guest who comes in and in dwells in our life, no matter what. Even in the most disappointing days, his joy is there as the foundation. It doesn’t mean that life is suddenly perfect, but it is the assurance that God is with us every day. It can only come from God. Nothing else comes close.

And when we choose to view, our circumstance answers through the eyes of God. When we go through the tough times, God wants what is best for you and I. And he knows what it will take for us to accomplish the best hand over your life to him. Trust him. And this wonderful joy will be yours. And it was David the shepherd who became the King David who knew from firsthand experience when he offered this prayer. Lord, you have made known to me the path of life in your presence. There is fullness of joy. At your right hand are pleasures forevermore That’s in Psalm 16, verse 11.

Let’s Pray

Thank you, Heavenly Father. We can be often surprised by joy things in life that come our way Not everything is good but your joy which comes from the Indwelling. Holy Spirit is the anchor for our souls. Help me not to go looking for all the things that should give me happiness But let me be content knowing that the divine joy you’ve given is mine forever. Amen.