Sweetly fragrant cherry tree blossoms flood Japan with exquisite pale and vibrant pinks every spring, delighting the senses of residents and tourists alike. The short-lived nature of the blossoms cultivates a keen awareness in the Japanese to savor the beauty and scent while they linger: the very brevity of the experience heightens the poignancy of it. They call this deliberate enjoyment of something that will change quickly “mono-no-aware.”

As humans, it’s understandable that we’d want to seek and prolong feelings of joy. Yet the reality that life is riddled with hardship means we must cultivate the ability to view both pain and pleasure through a lens of faith in a loving God. We needn’t be overly pessimistic, nor should we fashion ourselves an unrealistically sunny outlook on life.

The book of Ecclesiastes offers a helpful model for us. Though this book is sometimes thought to be a catalog of negative statements, the same King Solomon who wrote that “everything is meaningless” (1:2) also encouraged his readers to find joy in the simple things in life saying, “There is nothing better for a person under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad” (8:15).

Joy comes when we ask God to help us “know wisdom” and learn to observe “all that [He] has done” (vv. 16–17) in both beautiful seasons and in difficult ones, knowing that neither is permanent on this side of heaven.

Read On…
Author: Kirsten Holmberg

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