Joy is a matter of faith. We mostly think joy to be primarily an emotion; it does touch our emotions, but only secondarily. Joy is derivative; it flows from faith.
So what do you believe about joy? Do you believe a merry heart is actually possible? A lack of joy is often a lack of faith. At times, I’ve believed joy to be naïve, that in a bent world of pain, sorrow is the deeper, truer reality. How many of us believe that gladness is the exception and sadness the norm? If so, have we ever questioned our beliefs for that way of viewing the world?
When I struggle to choose joy, I need to cross-examine what my heart is believing:
- Do I believe God is a cranky, old codger waiting to snuff out the slightest semblance of a smile?
- Do I believe that joy is rare and grief the common lot?
- Do I believe that my current circumstances are all there is, or do I believe in a larger reality called the Kingdom of God?
- Do I believe in God’s pledge to restore and renew all things, that the best is yet to come?
- Do I believe God is tight-fisted and stingy or generous and shamelessly promiscuous with his grace?
- Do I believe that even death does not get the final word, that sadness will pass away and that joy is eternal?
- Do I believe in the power of self-giving love best seen on the cross, that I can give myself away and actually find myself in the process?
- Do I believe that at the centre of the universe is God, a centre of selfless love and joy, and I am invited to join in that constant community of gladness?
Some things in life you will only see when you first believe them. I believe Lord, help my unbelief.