Joy is a companion, who joins us on life’s journey. Unlike some of life’s companions, she is always a welcome sight, a pleasure to have around, an asset to the journey.
Joy shows up unsolicited as a reaction to something good, invariably present at all of life’s parties. She squeals in delight anytime lost things are found. She cheers loudly when dreams become realities. She applauds accomplishments. Her unrestrained laughter is contagious, drawing others in. Frankly, it simply would not be a party without Joy’s presence.
Sometimes, Joy enters the journey as a gift. She offers grace in the face of failure. In disappointment, she brings hope. She walks us to the other side of the room, illuminating another perspective. Her touch is gentle, affirming, and reassuring. Joy is, after all, a gift of the Holy Spirit, a fruit of His residence in us.
Other times, however, we must summons Joy. It is in these life events that Joy’s presence seems most awkward, even unexpected and out-of-place. And yet, her presence, if we can muster the courage to invite her, will change the atmosphere. In these circumstances, Joy comes in battle array. There is a defiant peace about her. Make no mistake, she never acts inappropriately, putting on party behavior—no squeals, no cheers, no applause. She does not deny difficulty or attempt to make light of troubles with trite platitudes. She acknowledges the presence of Pain, notes Fear hiding under the table, spies Hate lurking in the shadow. (These—Pain, Fear, and Hate—an unwelcome trinity that inevitably crashes life’s journey.) Joy boldly stares each one down, undaunted by bullying. She may not be able to evict the unwelcome, but she will not allow them to take control. In life’s storms, we choose Joy, and she becomes our battle cry.
Joy one of our companions on life’s journey—a reaction, a gift, a choice.
Monica Napoli Warren lives in Mobile, Alabama with her husband Claude. A longtime Anglican, Monica wrote “A Search for the Real Jesus” Bible study. To learn more about that study and other books Monica has written go to www.hijackedjesus.com.