The Voice of Joy
There is a question, if not a criticism, that we occasionally hear leveled against Christadelphians as to their expression (or lack of) joy in the Lord (Psalm 42:4). This accusation might in some respects seem an honest observation, at least in contrast to some of the public expressions of joy from other religious groups. Christadelphians are, after all, a sober and serious community known for their attentiveness to doctrine and their conservative manner of worship. It is not always clear what individuals envision when they speak of joy. One might guess that a typical view would envision excited shouts and laughter as well as jumping, hugging and dancing. Although churches which manifest exuberant joy in their weekly services might view Christadelphian services as overly reserved, does that mean that Christadelphians are not joyful in their approach and service to God? Our joy emanates from our having embraced God’s Truth and from our trust in His love and His mercy.Our joy is spirit related, and our expression of it is more related to praise than to frenzy.Does not an emotional joy quietly surface when we read such reassurances as, Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity (Psalm 32:2)? Truly, is not our joy frequently expressed with a sudden and silent tear?
God gave us imaginations so we could vividly picture the accounts in His Word, and in this sense be a witness to such things. If we can picture these accounts in our minds, might we not receive a benefit similar to that of an actual witness? In Exodus 24:9-10, we read that Moses and those with him saw the God of Israel. What they actually saw, we believe, was angelic manifestation of the Deity. In this sense, man has seen God, although not seeing God Himself. You and I have been extended the opportunity to both see and enjoy the boundless ages of eternity with a closeness to God that has only been known in fullness by our Redeemer. Contemplate untold lifetimes unfettered by the crutches of the flesh, which hinder us from comprehending the fullness of our Father’s love, and from serving Him with the perfection He deserves. Imagine having no trouble of mind; no warring within the self! What a reason to forsake all ties to this perishing world! This life is a test. It is a testing ground to see who will be considered worthy of the honor to see and be with God. Who will give up the things of this life for the one to come? Who will do God’s will instead of their own?