Tuesday, March 4, 2014


His Joy---My Joy---Our Joy!

“If you loved Me, you would rejoice because I said, ‘I am going to the Father,’ for My  Father is greater than I.”    (Jn.14:28)

In reading this passage from John’s gospel, I was unexpectedly made aware of a new reason to rejoice.  What is that reason? Simply this: the Lord Yeshua (Jesus), Savior of my soul and Redeemer of all mankind, is with His Father in Heaven, alive forever, His joy fulfilled! 

I’m not sure why this thought---one I had never had before---was so meaningful to me.  Perhaps it’s because I’m in a season of transition in my life.  (Of course, that is true of us all, to some extent.)

The passing of my mom, Florence Goetz, has had a deep impact on me.  I’ve heard it said: ‘No one loves you like your mother!’  I have some sense of that in these days.  Though my mom and I agreed on almost nothing, (except the importance of Israel,) we had a loving relationship.  I like to say she thought ‘I hung the moon’----but was constantly telling me how I could have hung it a little better!  Though there is no lack of love in my life---thanks be to God---I can feel, at an almost molecular level, the loss of one for whom I, (along with my siblings,) was the center of the universe.  At the risk of sounding narcissistic---I miss it---and had no idea I would! (Perhaps that’s why I’ve yet to remove her name and number from my phone!)

For 23 years, Jenny and I have had our world revolving around a little girl, now a young lady, named Misha.  Though the center of our universe is God Himself, we are constantly conscious of her gravitational pull!  And now, into her orbit has come Joshua, a wonderful young man to whom she is now engaged!

A little over a year after burying my mother, I will be marrying off my daughter!  (I can almost hear Tevye singing a new lyric to his song from ‘Fiddler on the Roof’: ‘Transition…Transition…TRANSITION!’)  I’m not embarrassed to admit I find it all a bit emotionally overwhelming.

Perhaps that’s why the idea of Jesus, risen, alive, and at the right hand of His Father--- a place He occupies throughout eternity---is so comforting, and a fresh and surprising source of joy.  Things in this life change rapidly, unexpectedly, inexorably.  Nothing stays the same and, with each turn of our world, we face an unknown future; unknown to us, but not to God!

In the passage I quoted, Yeshua is telling His followers, in essence, that He knew where He came from and where He was going.  To accomplish His transition from earth to heaven, He had to endure unimaginable suffering; rejection, hatred, betrayal, crucifixion and, worst of all, separation from His Father on the cross!  (Ps.22)

Another passage puts it in perspective:  “Jesus…for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”  (Heb. 12:2)

Considering what He did for me---for all of us---I am, quite simply, happy for HIM!  More than any one who ever lived, he DESERVES that joy!  Yet, He also prayed for that joy to be shared with those who do NOT deserve it; people such as you and I!

         “But now I come to You, and these things I speak in the world,
           that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves.”  (Jn.17:13)

Perhaps I was receiving some of that joy in thinking about My Lord being forever with His Father.  In the midst of a life in which I think so much about myself, it was refreshing, if only for a brief moment, to share in HIS happiness, His gladness!

It has been often said: ‘I know not what the future holds, but I know who holds the future.’

Our future---those of us who believe in Him---is to be ever with our heavenly Father and His Son, Yeshua, our Messiah.   Now THAT’s some transition! 

And---in the midst of the uncertainties of this life---that certainty brings me joy!

May the JOY of the Lord be YOUR strength in these days!!