When I was a missionary to Asia there was a profound sense of joy in my life because I knew I was doing exactly what God wanted me to do. I was making sacrifices for God, but they did not seem burdensome. They seemed easy, in fact they were joyful. I remember hearing a missionary preach about suffering for Jesus. He brought his wife and three children to Africa and a few months after they got there, they all got sick. They were too sick to get out of bed. He said “Be happy, rejoice because we are suffering for Jesus!”
I feel a little bit like the apostle Paul. There were times in my life when I had so much money I didn’t know how to spend it all, and there were times in my life when I lived in deep poverty. They say that rich people are not necessarily happier than poor people.
Mother Teresa lived a very simple life. She always seemed to be happy. She knew her purpose in life and she constantly stayed on track to fulfill the purpose. What a joyful life that is. There have been thousands of people, probably millions who were as dedicated to God as she was, but did not get the publicity that she did. They did not need publicity to make them happy. Serving God and having a passion to please him was all they needed to be joyful. The apostle Paul said that he learned the secret of being content in any circumstance whether he had plenty or very little. He had completely dedicated his life to serving God.
When you realize that your purpose is to love God and serve him, you know that nobody can take that away from you. They can put a person in jail the way they did the apostle Paul but they could not take away his purpose in life. Instead of hindering the gospel it promoted the gospel. There have been many times in my life that I felt distressed or sad. One thing that would always make me feel better is to realize that no matter what happens to me, my purpose in life is still the same and God will make sure that I can fulfill his purpose. There is no force powerful enough, no person persuasive enough, no circumstance bad enough to force us to quit fulfilling God’s purpose in our life. To really latch onto this idea and let it sink deep into our soul is a very joyful thing.