Stacking Up Joy

Psalm 73:23

Yet I am always with you;
you hold me by my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will take me into glory.

I knew God was going to speak.

I knew he had a message. A promise. An image.

And sure enough, he did.

“Someone is running in the dark, past all of these closed doors. But God rushes in and takes your hand; suddenly you are running with him in the light—free,” she said.

I knew the image was for me.

I know the light has been promised. The joy will be forthcoming. The twirls and running and sensation of grass springing beneath my toes will be a reality.

I don’t doubt it.

But I can’t feel it. Right now–even after prayer upon prayer–I don’t feel the joy and I can’t see the light. Not yet.

But I don’t doubt it.

The one thing I know is that I won’t fake it. There is a time when I would have faked it, so hard it would almost tear me apart.

But today I will not fake it. The God who promises me light is smart enough to know that I’m not there yet. He’s patient enough to give me the grace to grapple. To say, God I don’t feel this joy that you talk about. I trust it is coming. I pray for the strength to ask for it.

I feel it fragments. In moments. In glimpses and hand squeezes and heads bowed and tears pricking.

But this picture of overwhelming light and sun and freedom–I don’t feel it yet.

I love the image of stacking up truths. I like the idea of the addition, the stacking, the summation of experiences and truths and ideas.

But lately I’ve been challenged on this mindset. For what good is truth without love or joy?

I could stack up sad, pathetic truths for days.

1. The world is a place of deep pain and intolerable suffering.
2. God doesn’t always answer prayer.
3. People I love get sick, trapped in destructive patterns, move away, move out of my life.
4. I can’t seem to get ahead of this curve of depression and burnout.

…..Etc. etc. until I can’t get out of bed.

But where does this get me?

This keeps me in the dark, sprinting, heaving past closed doors.

There is another truth I can choose to see: the light wins.

God grabs my hand and sets me free.

Will I build my life around the darkness or will I build my life around the joy?

In One Thousand Gifts Ann Voskamp writes, “Do not disdain the small. The whole of life – even the hard – is made up of the minute parts, and if I miss the infinitesimals, I miss the whole … There is a way to live the big of giving thanks in all things. It is this: to give thanks in this one small thing. The moments add up.”

The moments add up.
The joy adds up.

I want a life stacked on joy.

God, I ask for the courage and discipline to choose to see the good. To unclench my fearful fists so you can take my hand.

Even in the darkness–in the not yet–I can stack these moments. I will stack the little joy and I will build my life on your promises:

Aly, you will grow. I will comfort you. I will restore your joy. I love you.

I thank you for the glimpses. The fragments. That which I see in part that will one day be given to me in whole.

I thank you God for the hope of most this amazing joy. Please guide me with your counsel and take me to your glory. Amen.


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