Now is one of those times where there are a few (ok, a lot) of different thoughts swirling about in my mind and I’m not entirely sure I can do any one of them justice in attempting to express them here. So that’s my disclaimer – you’ve been warned 😉
We had a women’s retreat at church this weekend and the speaker spoke on joy. Not only on joy though, but also on how it manifests itself through sorrow; and how, through sorrow, we can gain a firmer grip on our joy.
You see, as a Christian, my joy is not a result of any given situation or circumstance in my life. My joy is found in the Rock of my Salvation, the Prince of Peace, the Way, the Truth, and the Life. My joy is found in Jesus Christ.
These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete. John 15:11
It is a difficult truth to grasp. It’s one that, on most days, my mind knows to be true; but on more trying days, my heart has a hard time following suit. A new thought was added to that today as well, that joy is not the absence of sorrow. They are not feelings that are mutually exclusive, but rather, they can happen simultaneously.
In our sorrow, in our brokenness, we can still experience joy. “You’re crazy!” you might be thinking…and you probably wouldn’t be too far off…but not because of this. This is something shown to be true in God’s Word.
In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials ~1 Peter 1:6
She also shared a definition of joy from John Piper:
Christian joy is a good feeling in the soul, produced by the Holy Spirit, as he causes us to see the beauty of Christ in the Word and in the world.
We can still see that through our sorrow, can’t we? It may not be easy, but it is still there. There’s also the wonderful truth that our joy is indestructible, while our sorrow is merely temporary.
Little by little, we grow in this way.
We cling to our Lord.
He guides us.
We come through the other side and marvel at His grace.
And we see the beauty of Christ all around us. In a prayer from a Sister when we are broken and hurting; carrying the weight if a burden too heavy to bear any longer. In the conversation with a loved one, being reassured that God knows what He’s doing, and it’s ok to lose any semblance of control, because it’s not really ours anyway.
While I cannot say I am a most grand example of a joyful woman, or even a good one, really; I do know true Joy. Traveling through sorrow has only made it more evident to me.
If you are a follower of Christ, you, too, have a joy that no one can snatch away from you. Just as you cannot be snatched from His most precious hands, your joy cannot be taken from yours. I pray in this day you are able to see it for what it is, regardless of what is going on in your world around you. Christ is there with you; always. And nothing can take Him nor the joy He gives, away.
Love & Blessings,