Have you ever seen a top without a bottom?
Have you ever seen a left without a right?
Can there be a beginning without an end?
Can there be good without the bad? How else would we know it was good?
Pondering the dichotomies above helped me better understand some of the more surprising words of Jesus, such as: by losing my life, I find it; and how I receive by giving away.
But it has also laid the groundwork for my understanding of joy.
I didn’t find joy by simply being happy all the time (sounds a bit shallow), and having life go exactly my way (who has this?). I have learned that some of the joy I experience has been birthed by seasons of sorrow. I’ve found that in the midst of brokenness, I am also at the cusp of joy, because the trials have drawn me closer to God’s lap and shown me sides of His character I would not have known had I not walked through the pain:
- His comfort
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted” Matthew 5:4
How well can I know comfort if I’ve never known mourning?
- His peace
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
For how can I know peace if I’ve never experienced war and enmity?
- His forgiveness
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8
For how can I understand his forgiveness if I have no need of it?
- His nearness
“The LORD is near to those who have a broken heart, And saves such as have a contrite spirit.” Psalm 34:18
For how can I know his nearness without brokenness?
- His joy
“weeping may endure for a night, But joy comes in the morning.” Psalm 30:5
….Can I know joy without knowing sorrow?
The variables don’t add up according to the world’s formula of joy. But, I have learned that joy does come from its opposite, sorrow. I’m not saying that this is the only way to experience joy, but it is one way in which He’s shown it to me. Could it be that in God’s kingdom, sorrow and joy are not mutually exclusive?
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds” James 2:2
Easier said than done, I know, but it’s also in the perspective. The NIV uses the word “Consider” and the New King James Version uses the word “Count”. Both words indicate that I should consider my trial or sorrow as a “joy”… and to “consider”, or to “count, as in counting trials as a joy, as a gift, that He gives?
If that’s the case, then for many of us living in this hurting and broken world—we have much to consider as joy, my friends!!
And that is something I can smile about today. Consider it pure joy.
smiles. i like that apparent contradictions use to drive that message in scripture…the sermon on the mount is a fav of mine…joy is there for those that see it…
I like the nearness especially. Perhaps the hardest to pin down but the one that touches the heart at its core and can be a real source of joy.
Thoughtfully done – thanks so much for these good reminders of some of the paradoxical truths of our faith – and of the generous nature of God’s love and presence.
Yes. To everything a flip side, as with a coin. Without both sides, the thing would not exist. Nicely written. Here from Emily’s.
I need to mull over this one a little more. The joy – sorrow connection is there, but it is still hard for me to see. Do you think it is because we have known sorrow that we can know joy? Or is the joy there if I choose to see all of the good He will do in and possibly through me during sorrows and trials?
I’m not sure about the answers. I’ve still got a lot to understand.
Your first question– I don’t know. I think knowing God brings joy– so that no matter what, joy or sorrow, our closeness to Him and knowing Him– is the source of joy . I was thinking of Adam– when he walked with God in the garden– didn’t he experience the joy of being close to Him? Did he know sorrow before he and Eve sinned, and was the first sorrow knowing that He disobeyed God and the subsequent separation? Did he understand joy all the much more after the sin? I’m just not sure, if we must know sorrow to know joy, but I do think, though, it could possibly make our understanding of joy all the greater. (But not for all, as hard trials make some bitter– we have a choice….)
The second question– yes, I do think that’s part of it– what we choose to see. But also, for me, the hard times have brought me closer to God, and it’s in that closer relationship where the joy came– even during the hard circumstances–that’s how I understood the two could exist at the same time. I’m still learning, though. Thanks for making me think and pondering with me. Blessings to you friend.
We serve an incredible GOD! A GOD who compares His Kingdom to finding a treasure. To be willing to dig for it….to look in the sorrow for joy…through the sin to forgiveness….love those paradox treasures!
he has been teaching me about joy too, friend. how your words encourage and strengthen me. thank you. xoxo
PathofTreasure — what a fun post — I love all the thinking you’ve done and you’ve led us through a maze of worthy considerations — with Scripture along the way. Thank you for this in the jam!