“Sorrow prepares you for joy. It violently sweeps everything out of your house, so that new joy can find space to enter. It shakes the yellow leaves from the bough of your heart, so that fresh, green leaves can grow in their place. It pulls up the rotten roots, so that new roots hidden beneath have room to grow. Whatever sorrow shakes from your heart, far better things will take their place.”
It took me a while to find a photo that fit today’s theme. For reasons I won’t go into at the moment, I don’t feel very joyful.
Feelings are hard to overcome, especially when facing some of the crap life throws at us. But joy is not based on circumstances; it is based on facts. For those of us who walk through Advent towards the promise of Christmas, joy is real. It speaks through silence. It dances with the pain. It seeps through the cracks of brokenness and reminds us that there is more to this life than we can experience with our human senses. And above all, it reminds us that God waits for our invitation to walk us through whatever is next.
When I looked over some of my photos from last year, I found this one, taken in early April when an uncharacteristically late snowfall blanketed my flowerbeds. The irises still bloomed in all their beauty in July. But for a moment, their greening was thwarted. It was all in the timing.
Joy is that place of rest, where God’s care and promises out-trumps the worst thing this world can throw at us. I’ll hang on to that thought. Hope you will too!
6 You now rejoice in this hope, even if it’s necessary for you to be distressed for a short time by various trials. 7 This is necessary so that your faith may be found genuine. (Your faith is more valuable than gold, which will be destroyed even though it is itself tested by fire.) Your genuine faith will result in praise, glory, and honor for you when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8 Although you’ve never seen him, you love him. Even though you don’t see him now, you trust him and so rejoice with a glorious joy that is too much for words. (I Peter 1, Common English Bible)