Healing is a process that affects us across the spectrum of our lives - emotionally, physically and spiritually. We are down for the count, knocked to the tarp by a punch that renders us weakened and dazed. It takes all we have just to stand.
In my progress, finding my way through the muck and mire of this season I am in, it’s not difficult for me to look for and perceive lack. Whether it is in my natural countenance to be optimistic, my struggle to project my new identity into my life situations, or just in being still in knowing He is working things out, I sometimes feel a void. I wonder if I am strong enough. I wonder if my endurance is up for the task.
I think at times we all can feel like this. We feel beaten down by the cacophony of words spoken over us, of circumstantial reminders that say we are in this fight on our own. All of this registers on the scale of how we measure our life outlook. If in no other way, I think the greatest, most glaring indicator of our angst, is in how we measure our joy.
We know, certainly, when joy is present. Life just seems to be going our way. When it is in full bloom, we can take on any problem, any situation, empowered by the essence that we are engaged in a season where love and happiness fulfill us. We are downright invincible when we have congruency in our relationships, our life expectations, our passion for those we love and for our dreams.
Joy is the catalyst that ignites our souls. When it is missing, life casts many shadows.
The absence of joy breeds fear. It breeds loneliness, hopelessness, faithlessness. Everything looks stark. Everyone seems to have what we do not. We feel lifeless.
If God is good — and He is — then how can we feel so disconnected from Him and the promises that He has made with us? How can we feel as though joy has left us, never to return again?
I have wondered often in this place, crushed by how low my spirit can feel, what God could possibly want to teach me. How could my journey be littered by so many broken pieces of myself, when others, less faithful, seem to be reaping whatever this world would offer them? How is it they can look so downright joyful?
I believe that the absence of joy has a purpose. Like a famine or a drought, we must endure it so that we are made ready, eager for it’s replenishment. Our eyes are cast to the horizon, looking for that cloud; we are hardened in our resolve to wait on Him.
One of lessons that I am learning, as I notice others walking hand in hand, babies in shopping carts, whole families gathered together laughing in a restaurant, is that I appreciate so much more what in the past I may have taken for granted. I had these simple pleasures once. I was once overflowing in these blessings.
Even if they look a little different, I will have them again. And so will you.
God is not cruel. I believe He is just working behind the curtain, readying the stage for the next scene that is coming in my life.
When joy returns, when relationships are restored or we are blessed by new ones, we will not be so quick to discount the value that they are to us. We will savor them, honor them, cherish them. We will praise Him for these blessings, and they will fill our souls with light. Because we have known its absence, we will celebrate greatly its return.
“Weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.” Psalm 30: 5
Keep your resolve strong and your feet steady. You will taste the blessings of joy again, and you will savor it, drinking it deeply in.
Keep your eyes on the horizon. Whatever you are going through is a season, not the end of your story. Be joyful in knowing He has it all worked out.
Get ready for it. Morning is coming!