Recently, I’ve had several conversations with people whose lives have taken a difficult turn. It seems that no matter what they do the challenges keep mounting and almost all of them ask the same thing, though not in the same words—where is the joy? Is any of it meant for me? Why can I not grasp it?
I’ve been in dark places myself at times and these questions reverberate in my own soul. The world can appear to be a very grim place full of nothing but trial, stress and sorrow. There is so much that happens to us and to our loved ones that is out of our control. It can leave us feeling tossed about on hurricane ravaged seas wondering if rescue is even possible. Do we dare hope?
All storms have an end. There is always room for hope. As for joy, I have found that it is not found in some great event or revelation, but it is there for us to grasp in small doses all along the way. For me it is in the smell of pine on the air after a rainstorm, the cool, soft carpet of green grass in my lawn, the warmth of the morning sun in the summer. It is in the way a beam of light breaks through the clouds like a spotlight and in the sunset when it lights up the sky in brilliant oranges and soft pinks. It is in the way my little dog races towards me across the yard with a grin on his face and his normally curly tail streaming out behind him like a flag. I find my joy as these things lift my heart and bring peace to my soul.
These little things remind me that life can be good, even in the midst of the storm. The Lord sends us gifts of joy and peace all throughout the day. The more time we take to pause and notice them, the more joy we feel until, finally, we find that life itself is joy and that our challenges and trials are never greater than the sum total of our joy. So take a moment and find your joy, cling to it when the waves of life are threatening and high, and trust that it is meant for you and you can have it right here and right now.