Oh how deep the river of joy flows. It carves away the rocks of imperfections. It pushes away the small unnecessary pebbles of life. It whispers when in a drought season, yet roars when in overflow season. The sunshine glints off the top showing how deep and how wide. The ebb and tide of this river is based on the patterns of life. It is set to motion by the Master Creator. This river twists and turns, it falls down the mountain side and fills the flat lands. It is always there. Oh the river that runs.
I look out at the world from a very different stand point then some. I look through jaded eyes. I look out from among the tall and full bushes of rude and selfish people around me. Sometimes, they swamp my vision. Most of them are people I know oh so well, some are casual acquaintances. I have experienced so little “niceness” in my life that I expect people to not be nice. This comes from even living in the wonderful state that prides themselves on being nice, Minnesota, the state with the nicest people. I have few friends for this reason, so if you are my friend, you are one of the lucky ones.
I learned self preservation early on in my life. It is one reason my life centered so strongly around my husband and my children. Yes, I ran away from family too. When people don’t treat me as I would treat them, I leave them. Yes, I know this is not the way it should be. I refuse to be a “doormat” to anyone. I refuse to give up my joy for anything or anyone.
As you can imagine, going through the funeral of my husband, I had to rethink this friend thing. In doing this I lost a lot of joy too. I had to visit the view of the world. I had to find my joy again. The confidence that comes with joy, oh I needed to hear those whispers.
To think of the word “Joy”, most people think of actions such as dancing, or maybe laughing, or a face lite up with smiles. Some may even think that just being nice would qualify as joyful. All of these are shall we say “nice”. But, That is not joy.
I think of some of the old songs, with Christmas coming here are a couple..
“Joy to the world, the Lord has come let earth receive her king..”
how about a real old one..
“I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy, down in my heart…where? Down in my heart….”
I have learned that happiness and joy are not the same. Sadness is not necessarily the opposite of joy. Joy just is. It is always a part of us.
Have you seen the movie “Inside Out”? I love this movie. Now..I know..it was not made with the Word of God as the background. However..it really is a basic sense of who we are.
The word of God does address Joy and Sadness. There is a whole book dedicated to the one theme of Joy. Philippians, it pushes at us to rejoice. To have joy in the midst of suffering. There are so many references all through the bible to the word Joy.
“For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” – Romans 14:17 (NIV)
“You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” – Psalm 16:11 (NIV)
“You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.” – Isaiah 55:12
“Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.” – Psalm 51:12
The main thing is to equate the 2. Without trials, without hardships, what would we have? Please do not say “joy”, there could be pain, anger, frustration. There is no joy unless there are trials that help us chose joy. Trust me when I say I have lived long enough to know life is about trials. We all have them. There is no such thing as utopia, or perfect existence. When we stop chasing this unreality, we see God so much clearer!!
This season of Thanksgiving and Celebrating a day of giving gifts, there are so many things that want to pull us down into sadness. I bring you to a place on the river bank. Look – Listen! Bend down close…and you can hear the faint gurgle…the small whispers of Joy.