My mom and I were doing a Greek word-root search online, looking for the original meaning of the words "grace" and "joy." As we clicked on links and typed in Bible verses, it dawned on me that life is a perpetual quest for grace-infused joy. Every person that calls this earth home is on a personal search for meaning - for original intent. Like us looking for words. Hidden in every soul is a deep yearning to know our created purpose - ultimately, to know the Creator. To know Him.
So each word kept leading back to Him - chara (joy) meaning "grace recognized;" charis (grace) meaning "favor." It all is coming clear to me now: I receive life-giving joy when I recognize and acknowledge God's favor. Apart from Him, my happiness and joy is fake and artificial. Without Him, trying to find that original meaning is like typing a Chinese word into the Greek search and hoping for an accurate result. It leaves us coming up empty - it leads us to a false reality. We still seek that purpose but have no way of finding it. We have only ourselves to look to.
As I applied this chara-joy, this "grace recognized," to the living truth found in God's Word, it gave a new light to scripture: when the wise men were rejoicing "with exceeding great joy" (Matt. 2:10) upon finding the dwelling place of the Son of God, they were not merely happy that the Star had gotten them there, that they made the long journey safely. No, they were recognizing God's favor, His grace on both their own lives and the lives of those whom this Messiah-King would deliver! This gives a whole new twist on the story!
And here it is that I find what this search is all about: it is about mankind longing for a Savior, aching to be told that they belong, they they are loved and accepted…that they have been chosen and called. Until we have been effectually found by the One who is searching for us, our lives have no direction and, consequently, no joy. We have no grace to recognize, no favor to appreciate. Therefore, life becomes no miracle - no discovery of endless hope. It is mere survival. Dark-roaming in perpetuity.
Oh how thankful I am to have been captured by this amazing grace! That I even have such a favor to acknowledge is a miracle in itself! If I can only remember to keep my eyes open for his demonstrations of such grace - then, I will have joy. Then I will have reason to be happy - not for my sake, but for His. Because isn't this grace-love completed when I return back to Him what is given? To be thankful in an otherwise thankless world? Chara-joy. "Grace recognized." Favor. Life.