Joy, Joy, Joy

The darkness is here to mold, to shape, to edify, if we only have the heart and courage to endure.

We all know what it’s like to be in a season of darkness. The darkness can take many forms. We know it all too well. So instead of giving the darkness power by naming it, I’m going to talk about who our companion can be while we are in darkness.

Now, again, Joy does not mean the absence of pain, or darkness, it means that with Joy, we will be able to endure the darkness.

As many of us may know, it is always easier to come up with ideas, and stories of the bad in our lives. It is always easier to seek out the negative things that are going on, the wrong that is going on in our lives. If it’s coming up with a movie, or a story idea, coming up with the evil, or the villainous parts come more naturally. Or if we are catching up with a friend, we always talk about the negative things going on in our lives, and it’s harder to seek out the good that’s also going on.

The hard part is having a different mindset, a different perspective. Now, what I do not want to do is simply state a positive perspective. I don’t want, for myself, and for you, to simply overlook the bad, ignore the bad, and act as if everything is okay. No, that is not my intent.

What I want us to do, and what I believe joy to be, is that while we are walking in the darkness, while we are living in it, knee deep in the crap and messiness of darkness, is to put on a new lens, and to have a new frame of mind.

Joy, unlike happiness is not fleeting. I believe there is a fundamental difference between joy and happiness. Joy allows us to walk through the darkness. Joy allows us to see when it is pitch black. Joy is our strength, when it seems like we have none at all. We may be happy for a moment, but joy is everlasting.

Joy is everlasting

As it says in the good news translation from Psalm 30:5- His anger lasts only a moment, his goodness for a lifetime. Tears may flow in the night, but joy comes in the morning.

But Joy comes in the morning. It comes. Definitive. Absolute. Certain.

Don’t believe the lie that whatever darkness you’re in will last forever, or that you are stuck with that darkness. Don’t believe the lie that the darkness is here to stay, because, it’s not.

I’m gonna let you in on a little secret. Before your next season, before anything bad happens to you, and even when it does, the darkness already lost.

Joy comes in the morning.

But we mustn’t wait for Joy. We also mustn’t wallow. We have to be intentional, and willing to change our frame of mind, and to gain a different perspective. That’s why community is so important.

Will it be hard, yes. Will it be worth it, absolutely. Joy will come in the morning, but we have to endure the darkness to see the beauty.

Now, again, Joy does not mean the absence of pain, or darkness, it means that with Joy, we will be able to endure the darkness.

As one of my favorite artists have said, “our scars are life tattoos”. We will come out of the darkness with scars, we will not leave unscathed, but, having endured the night, facing the fear, facing the darkness, we come out of it matured, refined, edified. Our character being tested and tried, is more valuable than silver or gold.

So you see, it’s not about ignoring the pain, it’s not about avoiding the pain. With Joy as our friend, with Joy as our companion, we will able to face the darkness head on. Joy gives us the courage to move forward.

Joy comes in the morning.

As I write this, I don’t want to give off the impression that we should try to zoom through the darkness, either. There is a lot we can learn about ourselves. In the wilderness, in the quiet, in the darkest of times, it’s tempting to self-medicate, indulge, tune everything and everyone out, and allow our thoughts to dictate our actions.

What I’m trying to say is that so often, society, and culture will tell us that the darkness is our enemy. That whatever doesn’t make us ‘happy’, or if something doesn’t ‘feel good’ then it has no place in our lives. And on the contrary, just because something ‘feels good’, or makes us ‘happy’, doesn’t mean we should automatically run to it.

Example- our emotions, the full range of them, are our friends- they are trying to tell us something about the situation we are in. While we shouldn’t fully give into them, they are indicators of something that is going on. If we can truly listen to what our emotions are saying, what a different world we would be living in.- This is a blog for another time, but this isn’t that time.

The mountaintop isn’t a place of endurance, it shows what we’ve had to endure to get there.

And I want that to be the same about the darkness we sit in. Because culture/society says that negative is bad, or that the normal is to be happy, overworking, and busy, isn’t always the case.

What if the darkness is meant to reveal what’s inside of us. What if the darkness wasn’t necessarily meant to destroy us but to reveal what’s inside of us. And it’s up to us to discern what stays, and what goes; the parts of our character that we need to keep building on, or do away with.

What I’m trying to say is, the darkness isn’t necessarily our enemy, and the darkness is for our good, not our demise. The darkness is here to mold, to shape, to edify, if we only have the heart and courage to endure.

The mountaintop isn’t a place of endurance, it shows what we’ve had to endure to get there.

The valley is where the meat is at.

The light, the end of the tunnel isn’t the struggle, the darkness is.

The darkness is where we are tested. It is where we are refined. Like gold in fire.

If we can see the darkness like that, how refined we can become.

Yes, the darkness sucks, yes, we rather not have any darkness at all. But if we only shift our perspective to see that the things that happen to us by volition or not, are ultimately for our good.

The darkness isn’t your enemy per se. You are stronger than you think, or could possibly know. While the darkness may bring you to your knees, you have the strength to rise up, and walk.