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.