In all things, there is joy and sorrow. In the most incredible, joyous things, there is a piece of sorrow. And in the most horrible, sorrowful things there is a touch of joy, somewhere.
In all things, I have a choice. I can dwell on the joy. Or I can dwell on the sorrow. I may feel the sorrow. I may acknowledge it, process it, sense it. But I will dwell on the joy.
The fact is that most things fall somewhere in the middle of the joy-sorrow scale. And that’s where we live. That’s where I live. Somewhere in the middle.
Most things are not exceedingly joyful. Some are, but most are not. And most things are not exceedingly sorrowful. Some are, but most are not.
So in most things, my choice is fairly even. I can choose to dwell on the joy, or I can choose to dwell on the sorrow. The stacks are fairly equal.
So why is it that I tend to notice the sorrow more than the joy? Why do I parse out the difficulty, the hardship of a particular thing or circumstance? Why the complaining?
The joy is there in nearly equal measure. Why not notice it? Why not parse it out, the goodness, the hope, the possibility? Why not be thankful?
The joy of the Lord is my strength. When I dwell on joy, I gain strength. I become strong in the Lord.
When I dwell on sorrow, I lose strength. I become weak and live in the flesh.
As I look at the day before me, I know I want to be strong. As I look at all that I need to do, all my responsibilities, there are plenty I look forward to, plenty in which I can easily dwell in joy. Yet there are other things that I don’t want to do. I don’t like them, they’re hard, they’re full of frustration for one reason or another. Even if I say nothing out loud, in my heart, I feel the sorrow. And I feel the weight. And bit by bit, or in one swoop, my day is clouded. I lose strength.
Yet I know, even in these things I don’t want in my day, there is joy. Because in all things, there is joy. Why not notice the bits of joy even in the things I don’t like today?
Joy and sorrow. I have a choice. Why not parse out the goodness, the hope, the possibility today — even in things I don’t want? Why not thank my God? Why not let His joy be my strength?
For the joy of the Lord is my strength and I will dwell in Him. I will dwell in joy.
** This post is dedicated to my sister who has chosen joy in the midst of sorrow. It’s her birthday today. She’s been battling cancer for over 10 years. Her life is a miracle. Let’s stand in prayer with her for her heart’s desire.