Yes, life is difficult, but—in God’s grace—there is also good in it. As Ray Ortlund says, “The tears are inevitable, but the joys we might neglect.” Maybe more than ever, our biggest danger is neglecting the joys God graciously gives. This world is on fire. It seems to get worse each day. But your morning coffee still tastes good. The sun still shines. The gospel is still good news. Jesus is still alive, and his heart for you is the biggest love and grace and mercy this world will ever know.
He walks into a room with a smile. He jumps around. He has no bad days. Maybe I’m just biased as a dad, but my four-year-old son is the epitome of joy. Recently, over dinner at some friends’ house, he was running in their yard with their puppy named Happy. It was as if his personality was running alongside him. He leaps through life, fully open to the array of gifts that lay before him.
Even broken things are simply new toys for a surprising purpose. I came into the room one day, and part of the side of his treasure box had come off. I asked him what happened, fully anticipating his sadness. Instead, he said, “Oh, it broke. But that’s okay. Now it has a window!”
When life gives that boy lemons, he knows what to do.
The Power to Enjoy
Maybe you’re like me, and your disposition isn’t as sunny. If my treasure box broke, I’d lament, not revel in the new feature. Upon hearing good news, I search for the bad angle. When bad news is shared, I tend to find the other pieces the messenger forgot.
I need a power I don’t have—the power to enjoy. And you know what? The Bible says that power is available. Power is right there in Ecclesiastes 5:18-20.
Behold, what I have seen to be good and fitting is to eat and drink and find enjoyment in all the toil with which one toils under the sun the few days of his life that God has given him, for this is his lot. Everyone also to whom God has given wealth and possessions and power to enjoy them, and to accept his lot and rejoice in his toil—this is the gift of God. For he will not much remember the days of his life because God keeps him occupied with joy in his heart.
In context, The Preacher is warning of the dangers of loving money. His point is we look out to what we don’t have instead of into what we do. Our pursuit of the next hit of happiness never ceases. We can have it all, but without the power to enjoy, it’s all a waste. When we’re out looking for the happiness money can buy, we’re missing the gift of happiness sitting right under our noses. It turns out, we already have what we need, and almost none of it came from what we purchased; it comes from what God has given.
We tend to think the life we most want out in some distant land, locked like some pirate’s buried treasure. Maybe we don’t need to try so hard. The happiness we’re looking for is so often right here, right now. And the power to enjoy it is ours for the taking in this great, big, beautiful world God has made.
Beware the Killer
But we don’t always see that, do we? We scratch and claw our way for another dollar, asking this life to give more than it can. We’re always disappointed. So, we fill our disappointment with more disappointment, heaping pile upon pile, experience upon experience, test driving things The Preacher already tried and warned against.