Some of you say, “Joy is greater than sorrow,” and others say, “Nay, sorrow is the greater.”
But I say unto you, they are inseparable.– Kahlil Gibran
We seek for happiness all our lives. We seek for it in things that bring us pleasure. We seek for it in people who could love us and accept us for who we are.
When things go wrong however, that same happiness turns into grief, and we are heartbroken once again. We ask ourselves, “Is happiness really that fleeting?”
A little voice within answers, “Yes, for happiness depends upon events and things that change. If you want something that lasts, seek for joy instead.”
We ask in turn, “How can it be? Can joy still exist even in my sorrows?”
I believe that joy and sorrow can definitely exist at the same time. Yes, we are hurt. Yes, we’re broken. But yes, we know we’re going to make it. And yes, we know we’ll get out of it better persons than we used to be.
Somewhere in our hearts, there is a chamber of joy that should remain intact and untouched, forever guiding us in our most troublesome paths.
“I have deep sorrow today, and an unclear vision of the future. But nobody ever died of loneliness – only of hopelessness! As long as I have hope, no problem is ever too difficult, no night ever so dark that it can prevent the rising of another day!”
The key to joy is hope. It is the belief that the pain we’re suffering from at the moment cannot last forever and shall one day pass away. It is a certitude that things are always turning out for the better, for our own good, because God is still in charge of our lives, and God will never let us down.
We rejoice then, not because we are wounded, but because we are in the process of being healed. We rejoice not because we are experiencing tough times, but because we are being made stronger and braver than we used to be.
Where is joy then in the midst of all our sorrows?
1. JOY is in our hope that God’s Plans for us will come true, and it’s just a matter of time.
God has the best plans for us, and they will come true in due time. For the meantime, we can relax and stop stressing ourselves over fears caused by our impatience, our envy and our lack of faith.
Sometimes, it is not our current situation that really causes us stress. It’s our impatience that things are not yet how we wanted them to be. We want to be rich NOW. We want to find our life partners NOW. We want to be stronger NOW.
But there are things that require time. An oak tree must start from a little seed. A person must start out as a little baby. A business empire must start out as a small enterprise. And a soul must undergo many seasons of testing and pruning before it becomes holy and strong.
If we could only trust the process we’re going through, we’d feel less impatient, and more hopeful for the beautiful things coming our way.
One reason why we want to have everything we want at the moment is that we envy other people who have already reached what we want to achieve in life.
It hurts our ego that we are not as blessed as others are. We can’t accept that we’re still in the process of reaching for our dreams while others have already made theirs come true.
Oftentimes however, we do not know how many years those people spent before they were able to reach their current status in life. We don’t know how many times they cried or how much pain and rejection they had to go through in order to be the successful people we now know them to be.
Let us trust God’s own process with us and let us not be impatient because we are certain to receive our rewards in due time.
LACK OF FAITH
The answer to what we’re praying for may already be on the way – a pending job application is soon to be approved, a potential life partner is just about to be met, an apology is to be accepted. Yet even if these things are about to happen soon, if we don’t currently believe they could happen, we’d be in great misery and hopelessness for the moment.
If we could only believe that prayers are still answered, and it shall be answered in the right time, we’d be less anxious and more secure that the best things are already on their way.
When God says, let me take care of this, let Him. Don’t try to work your way for His blessings when He wants to shower you with His Gifts.
2. JOY is in our hope that whatever our current sacrifices are, it will redound towards the good of others.
There are times when our suffering is voluntary. We know we’re doing certain things in order to help other people. Times such as these, our joy rests in the vision we have of the good change our sacrifices will yield in the lives of other people.
There are three things we much remember so as not to lose our joy within our current difficulties:
OUR SUFFERING ISN’T MEANINGLESS
A lot of our troubles fade away whenever our difficulties take on some meaning. What’s really difficult are those sufferings that don’t make sense for us, those that drain us with pain without any accompanying fruit commensurate to our hurts. When you are making a certain sacrifice for another person, always remember the meaning of what you’re doing. Are you working hard in order to send your children to school? Are you trying to bear the loneliness of being away from your loved ones in order to give your family a better future? Remind yourself always that your efforts are not in vain.
OUR SUFFERING WILL ONLY BE FOR A WHILE
We should also remember that our sacrifices would last only for a certain period of time. We may need to count several months or even years, but it doesn’t change the fact that the time will come also for our sufferings to end.
OUR SUFFERING WILL BRING A LASTING GOOD
Our difficulties are only for a moment, but they shall bring a lasting good for those we love. We may need to work overtime for several years, but the reward could be the education of our children. There is a lasting good in exchange for our momentary troubles, and this is what we should always keep in mind.
We are not here to be entertained, but to live a meaningful life that makes a lasting difference.
3. JOY is in our hope that God can and will transform us into the best that we could be.
We may not be happy with who we are today. We may even feel ashamed of our weaknesses. Our sorrow is that we have been rejected many times, and it came to a point when we may even reject ourselves. We no longer feel worthy of being loved. We can’t believe we’d ever be happy with ourselves, how could other people then be happy with us?
But that is not how God works. God takes us in our weakness and transforms our shame into strength, our brokenness into a glory we could never even imagine.
We all want to be beautiful because we want to be loved. In truth however, it is because God loves us that we become beautiful.
The Bible is filled with many stories of how God transformed a number of men from fear to courage, from cowardice into greatness. That’s how God works, and that’s the source of our joy!
They will fight against you like an attacking army,
but I will make you as secure as a fortified wall of bronze.
They will not conquer you,
for I am with you to protect and rescue you.
I, the Lord, have spoken!
Yes, I will certainly keep you safe from these wicked men.
I will rescue you from their cruel hands.” – Jeremiah 15:20-21
Such was God’s assurance to Jeremiah, imagine being compared to a fortified wall of bronze!
Then the Lord’s angel came to the village of Ophrah and sat under the oak tree that belonged to Joash, a man of the clan of Abiezer. His son Gideon was threshing some wheat secretly in a wine press, so that the Midianites would not see him. The Lord’s angel appeared to him there and said,
The Lord is with you, brave and mighty man!
Gideon wasn’t at all being brave by threshing some wheat secretly and hiding from the Midianites (their enemy). But it was God who willed to transform him into a brave and mighty man.
Fear not, you worm Jacob,
…I am the one who helps you, declares the LORD;
…Behold, I make of you a threshing sledge,
new, sharp, and having teeth;
you shall thresh the mountains and crush them,
and you shall make the hills like chaff;
you shall winnow them, and the wind shall carry them away…-Isaiah 41
Jacob was so weak he was even compared to a worm! But see God’s message for him: I make of you a threshing sledge,new, sharp, and having teeth. How different is a little worm that easily gets bruised and crushed from a sharp instrument which God has intended him to be.
Even the apostles of Jesus were all fearful when Jesus had been captured and crucified. How different they have been after receiving the Holy Spirit of God. They were transformed from men of fear to men of courage who were not afraid to proclaim Jesus’ message even if they are risking their very lives in bearing witness to His truth.
God transforms us and helps us become the best of ourselves. In this we find hope, and our joy is made complete!
It is through the most difficult trials that God often brings us the sweetest discoveries of Himself.
God comforts us in our sorrows. He gives us hope to carry us through even the darkest night. Our happiness may have been lost, but our joy need never fade. Joy should be kept safely in the innermost chambers of our hearts.
He has sent me to comfort all who mourn,
To give to those who mourn in Zion
Joy and gladness instead of grief,
A song of praise instead of sorrow.
Our weeping is but for a moment, but our joy shall last forever! Rejoice then and keep your hopes up, we are far more blessed than we believe.
A TIME FOR JOY
This may not be a time for dances,
but this is a time for prayer.
This may not be a time for clapping,
but this is a time for songs.
This may not be a time for merriment,
but this is a time for awakening.
This may not be a time for running,
but this is a time for rest.
This may not be a time for kisses,
but this is a time for hugs.
This may not be a time for laughter,
but this is a time for smiles.
This may not be a time for parties,
this may not be a time for noise,
But this is a time for healing,
and this is a time for joy!