The news is NOT good.
If I hear of one more child shot and killed in Chicago, I may be sick.
That will probably be tonight.
I’m struck by the daily, unexpected release of souls from this world due to natural disasters. The grief of their loved ones creates an invisible tsunami.
Politics in this country – forget about it.
Are our elected officials REALLY not mature enough to work through disagreements to enact good for our society?
The consistent negative and tragic vibe is disheartening.
Where does joy come from when the world is in such a state?
Is it even safe to express joy? Or is it offensive to those suffering, to those arguing in the public square for issues they want to be top of mind for all?
Is joy insensitive?
I was thinking about this Tuesday as I walked the treadmill at the gym.
I was listening to this version of Amazing Grace and found myself hearing the message of it differently – https://music.apple.com/us/album/amazing-grace-feat-love-newkirk-single/1186321149
Yes – this is a WAY upbeat version, and not all the verses are sung. What could really be heard differently?
Wondering about global disarray, and intersecting with this song in the middle of a line of gym equipment, I felt the challenge of God’s Spirit to my heart:
Andrea…if NOTHING else in your life or in the world was true except the words in this song
Would the truth of Jesus’ salvation of your soul still bring you joy?
Not secret joy. Joy expressed. Joy shared.
I could only respond: “well… it might take me a minute to be reminded of this truth if I’m hurting or blind-sided by loss, but yes – I know I’d get there and I will find comfort and hope that the joy of my salvation is secure and one day I’ll know this joy without any further pain to distract me.”
Confidence in this brings true joy even in struggle. It’s truly real AND inexplicable. To cry and yet want to dance knowing tears will one day not exist is wonderfully strange.
Joy is safe rooted in eternal truth and God’s magnanimous love. Which are not separate, by the way.
I had tacos and a margarita yesterday with a longtime friend. I had to travel a few towns over, near to where she lives, to pick up my son’s club soccer gear, so we met up for lunch. Her bright demeanor, her gifts to relationship-build with anyone – but especially those born in faraway countries, her great compassion for the oppressed and her stunning talent as a photographer all belie the daily pain and unpredictability of living with MS she carries. Yet, she is a defiant protector of joy. I would not want to be between her and ANYone who would try to tell or intimidate her to not choose joy, for fear of getting in the way of that swift slap upside that person’s head she’d dole out. OK – she wouldn’t be violent, but her verbal response would be quick and decisive, nonetheless. In her words – “Why would I NOT be joyful? One day, I will be living a new, perfect body FOREVER! ” Don’t get me wrong…she is honest and genuine about the hard moments, the struggle-filled days. But such sufferings are a drop in the bucket of eternal perspective and therefore, temporary. JOY… it exists amidst pain and will one day be a constant experience, completely absent of affliction.
This is where joy is safe.
Overflowing from God’s love.
Demonstrated by His own sacrifice to rescue us.
That is a dangerous love.
Love that gives birth to tenacious joy,
Do you know it?