Joy is meant to be ours, a joy that is defiant in the face of this broken world. Our hearts are to echo the heartbeat of our joyous God. Now, this isn’t about skipping around in the garden singing, “I’m so happy in Jesus every day.” This is about being present to whatever may be coming our way and, in the midst of both the goodness and the grief, knowing joy. Believing that sorrow and loss do not have the final word takes defiance. It requires a strength of spirit that must be nurtured. It means engaging our lives fully but interpreting them by the highlight of heaven. Denying the truth of reality is not the answer; being fully present to it is. . . .
We are called to resist the lies of the enemy. Like Christian on his pilgrimage, we do not comply with the Vanity Fair offerings of the world. We are instructed not to obey the clamoring of the flesh. We are urged to rebel against sin. By the life of Christ in us, we oppose death and destruction. We dissent by casting our vote against the belief that sorrow and endless suffering win.
Instead we welcome life, love, and the full work of Christ to bring all of His goodness into every aspect of our and His domains. We comply with truth. We obey our God. We respect His authority and His final say. We overcome evil with good. We defy hatred by embracing love.
In the midst of all the suffering in the world, it can feel irresponsible, even frivolous, to have joy. And yet, and still, we are called to it. Certainly there is a time to grieve. There is a time to mourn. To wail. To sigh. There is a time to know our loss . . . but that doesn’t mean we can’t have joy even in that painful knowing. Joy is the heartbeat of the kingdom of God. Joy is what sustains us; it is our strength. We can be resilient. We can be filled with the expectation of good things.
And we can have joy in the midst of the lamentations of our lives.