So Where’s the Joy?

I had a funny experience this morning.  Feeling overwhelmed with too many things that needed to be done and having no clear idea how to do many of them, I felt like going back to bed and hiding.  Maybe no one else ever feels that way.  It doesn’t happen to me very often, but every now and then, I feel that way.  (That’s not the funny part.)
Then I accepted my lost, confused feeling and let go of my demand to know what I was going to do next and how I would do it.  I just began doing the thing before me that needed to be done.  I didn’t want to do anything, but I was nevertheless doing and kept doing.
Before long, I found myself humming a chorus from my old Pentecostal days, “I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart to stay…”  I was happy, beneath my sadness.  All day long, I kept going and kept humming or saying the Jesus prayer or thinking about how much easier it is to write about the Christian life than it is to live it.
The joy is not outside us. It does not come from “blessed” circumstances.  The joy is inside us, hiding just below the sadness.  When we stop fighting the sadness, when we let go of our demand to understand, to figure it out, to be right; then joy and peace and the Life of God filter through.  God has not gone anywhere, I just stopped looking at Him.
I am reminded of a movie called “Bless You Prison.”  It is about a woman who rediscovers her peace in Christ while suffering in a Communist prison.  Bonnie and I watched it again tonight after dinner.  It’s one of those movies that everyone should see at least once–multiple times if given to bouts of paralyzing brooding.  
My favorite part of the movie is where she begins to pity the guards, and they think she is crazy because she smiles at them and says thank you when they bring her food.  She found the joy under the sadness.

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