What is true joy?
It's delight which flows without measure
from the assurance that through every circumstance
and detail of my life God is ever beckoning and drawing me
into deeper intimacy with Himself, ever whispering to my heart,
“Come closer still.”
Joy in the midst of devastating loss, crushing disappointment,
unbearable pain or scourging heartache is about the discovery of
treasure so precious and rare that it never could have been found
had we not been forced to walk a path of affliction in the desert.
It's in the isolation and brutality of the wild that we come to know Him
in ways that transcend the span of human imagining or desiring,
and all the songs and all the poems and all the masterpieces
taken together cannot capture an estimable description
of the pleasures that might be unearthed there.
There lies before us in our afflictions a vast and wondrous beauty
yet undisclosed behind the fog, and like a theatrical curtain
slowly pulled back to reveal a perfectly set stage
He will sublimely unveil it in His own directed time.
And we shall be elated at the view,
for it's against a backdrop of struggle and darkness
that the best and most moving of stories have always unfolded.
Maybe nothing truly beautiful can ever take form on earth
without the shroud of mystery and brokenness surrounding it—
at least not the kind of beauty that takes our breath away
and leaves us yearning to possess it.
"You have made known to me the path of life; You will fill me with joy
in Your presence, with eternal pleasures at Your right hand."
~ Psalm 16:11
"O God, You are my God, earnestly I seek You; my soul thirsts for You, my body longs for You, in a dry and weary land where there is no water. I have seen You in the sanctuary and beheld Your power and Your glory. Because Your love is better than life, my lips will glorify You. I will praise You as long as I live, and in Your name I will lift up my hands. My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise You. On my bed I remember You; I think of You through the watches of the night. Because You are my help, I sing in the shadow of Your wings. My soul clings to You; Your right hand upholds me."
~ Psalm 63:1-8
"It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn Your decrees. The law from Your mouth is more precious to me than thousands of pieces of silver and gold."
~ Psalm 119:71-72
"'Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her. There I will give her back her vineyards, and will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope. There she will sing as in the days of her youth...'"
~ Hosea 2:14-15