Bruce C. Hafen said “To miss the misery is to miss the joy. To miss the joy is to miss it all.” It takes courage to see the world that way. I imagine it’s how Adam and Eve felt, leaving the lush comfort of the garden and wandering into the barren wilderness. They made a choice to embrace the pain and struggle that they might know joy.
The more I study joy in the scriptures the more this pattern surfaces. Every story that speaks of joy has a preceding chapter or verse about struggle. They are a divine pair. Which means, if we are in the midst of heartache, we can take some comfort in the fact that the pain is evidence of the virtue of what was lost - or the promise of blessings that are only a few ‘chapters’ away. Either way, His arms are around us - supporting us, strengthening us and softly steering us toward lasting peace.
Joy is real and it is reachable, guys. To really experience it, we also need to be vulnerable to loss and pain. For me, the hidden beauty comes from the belief that every time my heart stretches through struggle, my capacity for joy increases too. In other words, it’s worth it. It will always be worth it.
We need to be courageous. We need to enter into the rocky landscapes of our lives with open hearts, abiding hope in His grace, and a desire to lift those around us. If we can do that, we can set our fears aside and finally begin to cultivate lasting joy. .