I’ve written previously that one of the deepest ways Davin’s story has shaped me is by forcing me to take seriously the joy which he spent his life and death pursuing. Everyone who knew him best has repeatedly said that perhaps the defining verse of his life was Philippians 1:21: “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” He said it and he lived it.
He must be serious about the treasure he’s going after if he is willing to lay down his life to gain it. And I think that’s one of the central things, if Davin could have his say, that his story would teach us—your joy in Christ is worth living and dying for. It’s worth the loss, the heartache, the cancer, the deterioration of your body, the torturous separation of a man from his wife, and every other detail of pain you could feel along that road of suffering. Davin endured it all for the joy set before him (Hebrews 12:2).
Davin discovered and lived and died for the truth that “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.” There really is a weightiness to the glory set before us when it is put in the perspective of someone willing to die for it (2 Cor 4:17).
So I’m stopping in life to stay myself upon this point, to graze in the green pasture of God’s mercy in the story of Davin Henrickson about his joy and treasure. I picked up Desiring God again for the first time in six years—the time elapsed since God first used it as an instrument to bring me new life. God brought life, among other things, with one sentence:
Do you treasure Him more than everything? Converts to Christian Hedonism say with Paul, “I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (Philippians 3:8)…
… until your heart has hit upon this pursuit, your “faith” cannot please God. It is not saving faith. (Desiring God, 55).
A lot of water has passed under the bridge in the last six years. Marriage, three children, and a lot of God-appointed suffering. But through Davin God is mercifully bringing me back to the place where the Christian life begins—a simple joy in knowing Jesus Christ the Lord. As my heart breaks, Davin is pointing me to his joy: “Delight yourself in the Lord” (Psalm 37:4), for it is this delight that makes everything worth it.
“There is a kind of happiness and wonder that makes you serious.” C.S. Lewis, The Last Battle.
So, the simple question remains: do you know Davin’s joy? Is it what makes your life worth living and, if God calls, giving up? Do you treasure Him more than everything?