When asked if I would write on joy, I felt a bit ill-equipped to write on this topic. I’ve never considered myself the optimistic, happy-go-lucky joyful type. Throughout various times in my life, I have tried to make a commitment to be joyful, but then my negativity gets the best of me.
However, whenever I think of being joyful, my mind always goes to Psalm 30:7, “Weeping may spend the night, but there is joy in the morning.” There’s something about that verse that gives me a bit of hope.
In 2009, Christian artist, Steven Curtis Chapman, released an album entitled, “Beauty Will Rise” with a song by the same title. The song was inspired by the tragic event of his 5 year old daughter’s death the year before. The song starts out by recalling the day, “It was the day the world went wrong/I screamed til my voice was gone/And watched through the tears/as everything came crashing down/Slowly panic turns to pain/As we awake to what remains/And shifts through the ashes/That are left behind”
Although, not all of us have lost a child, we have all had that moment where everything went wrong. Our world, for a time period stops spinning, and we are left standing still, stunned… while the rest of the world moves past us without a thought. Perhaps it was a death of a loved one. Perhaps it was a loss of a job. Perhaps it’s coming to terms with the past. Whatever it is, we’ll call it ashes. Ashes to shift through that no one wants even look at. It’s dirty, mucky work, that can leave us feeling burdened.
The song proclaims that out of the ashes beauty will rise. Something wonderful, beautiful and glorious will come out of whatever our ashes are, but in the midst of shifting through the ashes, can we even glimpse to the future to find hope or joy? It may seem difficult, but I do think it’s possible.
The end of the song brings these lyrics, “I can see it in the distance/and it’s not so far away/It’s the music and the laughter of a wedding and a feast/I can almost feel the hand of the God reaching for my face/To wipe the tears away/You say, “It’s time to make everything new”/This is our hope/This is a promise/And it will take our breath away to see the beauty that’s been made out of these ashes.”
Although, I’ve struggle to find joy at all times in my life, I do have to say, the thought of Christ’s return has always brought me joy. There’s this bubbling energy inside of me that screams to escape out my mouth. It makes me want to scream it from the top of the mountains, or dance like David (only, I promise to keep my clothes on J ). It reminds me, that this world that’s full of pain, sorrow, and hurt is not a world that has had the last word. It is a world that still has hope which breeds joy. For me, hope and joy go together. I cannot have one without the other. There is a day, where the old will be gone, and the new will come. I’m joyful and excited about that! Can it just happen, now? Already?
So, on the days of struggling to get my class assignments done, my e-mails answered, phone calls returned, trying to find the right words for questions that may have no answer, counseling those who come in my office with tears, and as I fight through my own personal battles, I am reminded, this is not my home. There is a day, when it will all be new!
And that brings me hope. That’s what brings me joy!