I was meditating about joy today, and this kinda just tumbled out. I think it’s from God. You be the judge.

Joy isn’t the absence of pain or sorrow. It’s not about absence, but presence. The presence of God, the presence of delight. And there is a thread of joy flitting through every moment, however painful or worrisome. The faith-filled, the hope-filled, the love-filled… they always find it, cling to it, celebrate it, let it eclipse everything else around them — because they have found the current of divine favor, of the Father’s delight; it courses through their souls like electricity, turning on lights and ennobling with power. This thread is what transforms the frail and feeble into lion-hearted martyrs who can set their jaws like flint, eyes flashing with regal courage in the face of persecution; it is what graces a soul with endurance and purpose as they care for a waning loved one; its what emboldens the jobless breadwinner, empowers the timid child called upon to take a stand far beyond the innocence of their years.

“It” is him, Jesus, given over to us in endless, magnificent generosity — life and power and all that we need. Jesus was “set above (his) companions by anointing (him) with the oil of joy” (Hebrews 1:9). And because he is present, joy is present too — joy in the darkness, joy in the menial task and in the most sadistic pain; joy in the beige seasons of endless waiting; joy in the wake of flattened dreams. Joy in the bitterness of heartache, joy in the maddening echoes of despair; joy in weariness, joy in the smothering blanket of discouragement, joy in noisy confusion, joy in the empty pit of loss.

And once we find it, that thread of joy and Jesus and life, none of those trials remain untouched by him. They shift, the crack, they crumble, they bow, they even sometimes glisten, if we have eyes to see it — glisten with the same gems of joy that fell like morning dew on Jesus, the anointed One. They may not vanish, true — but they are no longer King, no longer the death-fanged harbingers our enemy wished them to be. They are beneath us as we stand hand-in-hand with the One who has overcome the world.

Look, look for the thread! Open your eyes to the One whom your soul loves! Listen to his voice, answer him when he calls! He is standing by, ever present, ready, willing, able… always.