Joy Comes

This is a reflection I wrote several years ago. Today, as I think about the loss of beloved family members and friends as well as the many challenges, I am comforted by the promise of joy coming in the morning.

morning light

“Sing praise to the Lord, you saints of His, And give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name. For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life; Weeping may endure for a night, But joy comes in the morning.” ~Psalm 30:5

During a difficult time in my life, I began to wonder about this thing called joy. Joy comes. That’s what God promises us.  I believe this to be true. However, it may be one of the hardest promises to hold on to or to embrace. The Bible speaks often of joy. David calls for joy in Psalm 51 and Jesus tells the servant who has increased his talents to “enter the joy.” James tells us to “Count it all joy when we fall into various kinds of trials.” And the writer of Hebrews lets us know that because of the joy that was set before him, Jesus endured the cross. Regardless of when or why or how it comes, God promises us that we can depend on joy.

I cannot help but wonder when does joy come? How does it come? Where does it come? And, probably the age-old question: how long is the night? How do I know when dawn is breaking through the clouds? Some say that it is darkest before the dawn but how do I know when it will get no darker than it is?

So, I know that joy is coming—at least in the abstract. What will joy look like when it arrives? How will it feel? Does it feel like the peace that passes all understanding? Does it feel like an encounter with the Holy Spirit? Does it have the marks of a sure ’nough rendezvous with the Lover of my soul? Is it like a gentle breeze on a hot summer’s night? Or is there something else that I should be looking for?

I am waiting in expectation for joy. I am praying for it. I am hoping for it. I am anticipating its arrival.

As Christians we often remind ourselves and one another that happiness is fleeting but joy is something the world can’t give neither can the world take it away. Joy. Joy. Unspeakable joy. Joy. Joy. Joy. Down in my soul…

Perhaps, what I most want to know, what I am most concerned about, is that I will know it when I see it. Will I celebrate when I feel it? Will I shout? Break out into laughter, song or a dance? Or, will it simply (or not so simply) mean that I am able to make it through another long, hard day; another dry season; another walk through the wilderness? Or, is joy itself like a brook in dry places? Water to quench your thirst. Water to replenish your soul. Water to help you keep striving. A brook in dry places…

What I have learned and what I continue to find out is that no matter what our joy dancercircumstances; no matter what turns, detours and stops we have on our journey; joy comes. I’ve found joy in the strangest places. I’m not sure I have the answers to when, where or how it comes. But of this one thing am I confident: Joy comes! And, it’s been walking alongside me helping me to move forward when I wanted to give up; to love when I wanted to hate; to dance and shout and give, when I wanted to hide myself in a corner or fade into the background. Joy is a promise from God and it’s on the way…

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