Wednesday, November 30, 2011

On Joy

Imagine yourself in a beautiful meadow.

This place is perfect. There are no insects. There is no humidity. There is only fresh, clear air, 72-degree temperatures and a wispy pleasant breeze for measure. Cotton-ball clouds dot an azure sky, and the golden sun bathes your back and shoulders in delicious warmth.

You're surrounded by flowers. These aren't just any flowers. They're all fragrant, but not the heady type of fragrance that gives you a headache. They're every imaginable hue on the spectrum ... periwinkle, scarlet, emerald, magenta and saffron.

Birds chirp a cadence of trills. And even the deer languidly graze near you, not even raising their heads to your presence.

You gaze at the beauty. You feel peaceful, secure.

Then one of the clouds blocks the sun. The breeze suddenly gives you a chill. More clouds gather, quickly. A drizzle falls. And then the rain begins. You look around for shelter, but there's nothing nearby to shield you, not even a thatch of trees. The air changes from warm ... to cold. The rain turns into giant fluffy snowflakes. The wind picks up. And now it's no longer even a pleasant snowfall. Now it's spitting sleet. You rub your arms and gaze at the sky, and the sleet turns to ice.

Now look around.

The deer are still grazing. The flowers are still colorful and fragrant. The birds are still singing. Nothing has changed, save what is falling on your head. You are in the midst of the meadow as the storm passes through, but the meadow is unchanged.

You close your eyes. You know you're cold. You know you're physically miserable. But you can still smell the flowers. You can still hear the birds. You can walk up to a deer and pat its head, and it doesn't run away. The only thing that has changed is what is being poured on your head and body. But the comfort of the place around you gives you strength to weather the storm.


This is joy.

We can't control what happens to us circumstantially. Yesterday started out great for me. I was standing in that meadow, and without warning, things overtook me. By the end of the day, I felt as if I'd been through a war.

But here's the thing.

My Christmas tree was twinkling.

My child was singing.

My dog was laying languidly at my feet.

My home was warm.

We were fed, not hungry.

We were comfortable.

We put on Elf.

We listened to Christmas carols.

We lit candles, and we put on soft flannel pajamas and laid down in a luxuriously comfortable bed with warm blankets and soft sheets.

We weren't in danger.

We laid our heads on our pillows, knowing that we were in the most secure country of the world.

My child is healthy. I'm not sick.

I have plenty of work coming in.

Do you see how many blessings I have?

There are more.

They're too many to count.

Despite the circumstances, I was still in the meadow. Despite what was falling on my head, I could rest secure.



God gives me joy. Humanly, I can't cope alone. But God opens my eyes to see the beauty around me -- the colors of the flowers, the song of the birds. I know, no matter what happens, He has me at His breast, hemming me in before and behind me, protecting and securing me.

And giving me joy.

You can rest in that today. You can rest in Him today.

And you can be grateful that joy is steadfast, even when the meadow weathers an ice storm.

1 comment:

  1. It's really easy to lose sight of this, but when you open your eyes to the luck and the blessings, you suddenly see how the scales are so drastically tipped in your favor. Thanks for reminding us.