The Persistence of Joy

Last night, on the eve of my birthday, I was celebrated at my younger daughter’s home. The evening was filled with candlelight, white flowers, twinkle lights, and a dinner that rivaled a 5-star restaurant.

It was a delightful and joyous birthday celebration coming after a year that was tear-filled and hard in plain language. I woke this morning, amazed at the grace that touches my life – sometimes as soft as a fingerprint, other times as solid as a weighted blanket.

Joy is so utterly persistent that it can be found, not just at the end of a hard year, but throughout the hard. Sorrow and joy coexisting under the umbrella of grace.* Collectively and individually we know this. Our broader world and our individual worlds may face untold tragedy and sorrow, but we are dishonest if we do not admit that joy surprises us with its strength in the midst of this.

And that’s pure grace. That somehow joy cannot be stolen. It creeps up and surprises us in its delightful resilience. It shouts “I’m here!” And though we may want to push it away, it pushes back – sometimes in candlelight, friendship, and family; sometimes in cards and texts; sometimes in small morning whispers.

Tomorrow I will wake up and it will be a new day on a new year around the sun. Last birthday, if I could have looked into a window and seen the future ahead, it would not have helped me. It would have terrified me. Just as I could not have predicted all that this past year held, this next year too is unknown. The power of God’s grace and comfort is not for our future fears (although it will indeed be available) but for our present realities.

And though there are 365 days of unknown on this blank slate of a year, there is, and always will be, joy. Joy that can’t be stolen, joy that is so much more than mere happiness, joy that comes new every morning, as consistent as the sunrise.

May you discover the Life-Giver of joy,

see your beautiful bloom,

and know that hope is always worth holding on to,

because redemption is coming—and in fact—is already happening here and now.

Can’t Steal My Joy by Bekah Bowman

“Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.”

*I first heard this phrase and wrote about it here: The Sorrow/Joy Continuum

5 thoughts on “The Persistence of Joy

  1. Happy birthday! God’s blessings on you this bright new year!
    Mine is in just a couple days. :-) I am going to bake myself some cupcakes today, to pass out to friends and family. (I’ll see more of them today.)
    And, I agree. Joy does sneak up on me sometimes.
    Take good care.


  2. Mare- I don’t often comment on blogs from friends, because it would take hours a week!! But, this was outstanding- thank you. The past year was a LITTLE better for us, but two years ago we were walking into a DARK time, and it is good we did not know it then. We have had times of joy- I can pick up the phone and videochat with my grands, who give me great joy. But other times are still pretty dark and uncertain for us. So, we walk one step at a time, which is all we can do. That and hold the hand of the father, who is stronger than all outside challenges.

    Anyway-thanks for your insights. We have prayed so often for you guys this past year, too. Even when we don’t write!

    Love to you- Susanna



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