Joy

Hello, Lord. I’ve missed you.

Actually, to say that I’ve missed you is dishonest. One has to have a thing before it can be lost and missed. I’m not sure I’ve ever really understood you at this level before.

You know I’ve been fighting you for a long time. This is nothing new. And you know that I’ve struggled with joy for . . . ever. This is also nothing new.

It happened today–one of those moments that I haven’t had in years–or perhaps have never really had. I’ve been so angry for the last few days, and I’ve been grumbling and mumbling and writing arguments and defenses in my head, planning my assault, daydreaming about obliterating my opponents, prematurely enjoying a sweet victory that will likely never come. And you gave me an hour of blessed time in the car when I could do this–when I could plan my attack.

And then, in a moment, the desire to defend myself, to attack, to revel in my enemy’s blood, to savor sweet victory–it just . . . went away.

Dissolved.

Disappeared.

Melted.

And in its wake was your sweet whisper.

You seek vengeance for a thing that isn’t even worth fighting over. You know what I have called you to. Why do you care what that one thinks? Why do you worry? You can’t add a single hair to your head this way. I am your joy. I am your salvation. These other things are so much flotsam and jetsam. Focus here, right here. I will never leave you nor forsake you.

When my children were small, I told them, “your eyes on my eyes” when I needed to make sure they understood me. Now, Lord, you are telling me the same.

Your eyes on My eyes.

Your eyes on My path.

Your eyes on My will.

Do you understand?

Yes, Lord. And I think, perhaps, I’m finally starting to understand joy.

Joy doesn’t depend on circumstances. Joy doesn’t depend on what other people think of me. Joy doesn’t depend on my house being clean or my kids getting good grades or my husband being in a great mood or my scout troop being at peace.

Joy is a condition of my spirit that recognizes how beautiful and kind and loving and gracious you are.

No, I take that back.

Joy is a condition of my spirit wherein I rest in the knowledge of how beautiful and kind and loving and gracious you are.

There is surely a reason why the psalmist so closely relates joy and salvation. My joy comes from knowing how completely you have redeemed me–how total and complete is your grace, how excellent is your sacrifice, how perfect is your love.

There can be no other joy that could bubble up from the depths of my spirit this way. There could be no other truth that would draw my eyes away from earthly hurts and fix them firmly on you.

So yes, Lord Jesus. I have missed you. But I have missed you as one who has missed the sunrise for sleeping past it for a dozen years.

I have missed you not because you left me, but because I wasn’t looking for you.

You were there all along, waiting to bathe my soul in the warmth of a new dawn.

 

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