When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child.
When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.
1 Corinthians 13:11 (NIV)
It is raining and the sky is grim and gray. Fall colors lay muted on the windowpane, smudged and running in rivulets down the glass. Joy in the rain. Joy in the clouds. Joy for the promise of growing, of life. Joy for the vision of sunlight beaming from heavy clouds like a crown for glory. Joy in rainbows to come. Joy in the colors of October like an artist's palette of warm sunlight -- a masterpiece in fluttering leaves of gold and orange and red.
Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are healthy, your whole body also is full of light. But when they are unhealthy, your body also is full of darkness. See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness. Therefore, if your whole body is full of light, and no part of it dark, it will be just as full of light as when a lamp shines its light on you. Luke 11:34-36 (NIV)I think about finding joy, about choosing joy. Sometimes it's about as clear as mud, this joy thing. James wrote to consider it pure joy to face trials. Paul wrote that joy is a fruit of the spirit. Jesus said his joy is in us. That through his words, he would make our joy complete. He said our grief would turn to joy. That no one will be able to take our joy away. Joy walks hand in hand with peace, with salvation, with trust, and with hope. Joy is found in the presence of love. Joy is found in the presence of God.
Words. Part of Christian-speak, like code between believers, like a magic spell, an abra-ca-dabra. It's in there. In Scripture. Listed 422 times, according to my concordance. Four-hundred and twenty-two times - stolen joy, given joy, filled with joy, be a joy, go out in joy, pure joy, complete joy, receive with joy, jump with joy. Four hundred and twenty-two times.
More than happiness. More than circumstance. Then versus now, of this world and in this world, choosing good over evil, His will over ours.
Choose joy. Find joy. It's not just Pollyanna glasses. It's a conscious effort to see the cup as half full, to find the positive, to honor, to respect, to love -- even the unlovely. It's letting go of fear and giving in to trust. Trust in a good and holy God. It's belief that Jesus is real -- as alive and caring in 2015 as when his sandals, covered in the dust and dirt of everyday, carried him, carried his love in the year 30. It's faith in what can't be touched, or seen, or heard. Faith in the Holy Spirit who sparks our thoughts and actions, who speaks for us when we no longer have words.
Choosing joy is not a Christian 'thing', not an add-on, not an accessory. Not a secret membership or password. It isn't jargon. It's a way to understand, to honor, to love. It is a way to live In Christ. Always in Him. Those who have eyes, let them see.
What do you choose to see? What do you choose to believe? How will you choose to feel? What will you find? How will you understand? What discoveries will you make?
Do you see in light, or in darkness?
Who will you find?