Welcome back to Pastor Jules' Song Corner, where I, Pastor Jules, take a look at one song that's been stuck in my head, an old favorite, or a song we'll be doing on Sunday (and on some lucky weeks, maybe the song will be all three).
This week we're going to look at an old favorite: Joy in the Journey by Michael Card. You can find this on several of Michael Card's albums, including "Joy in the Journey," "The Life," "The Ultimate Collection," and "Scribbling in the Sand." Do not let the less than modern musical sensibilities of this song turn you away from it, because there is a great well of encouragement and, fittingly, joy, contained within.
This song, more than any other I have ever listened to, puts the Christian life into incredible perspective. We are on a slow walk, not having yet obtained the goal, and that hope we hold onto feels insurmountably far-off some days. We are filled with an aching for home, but a work to complete first. We grow weary, tired, and exhausted, by hardships, toil, and loss.
Yet there is joy, and this joy is a present reality. Though we may grow "weary of struggling with sin," as the song reminds us, though we "belong to eternity, stranded in time," we are not a people without hope, we have a hope--more than that, we have a joy to hold onto. We have been given Christ Himself, the Son of God, the author of salvation, the firstborn from the dead, the gentle healer, the forgiver of sins; what more could we ask for?
This song carries many shades of the Apostle Paul's writings from the third chapter of Philippians. In verses 7-14, he writes: "But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.
Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus."
May this song serve as a reminder to press on toward the prize-- the prize that is knowing God, being sanctified from sin, and being united with Christ.
"You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore" (Psalm 16:11).