Joy can vanish. It takes but a word or two. Words that lock our hearts, telling us joy will never be felt again. Words that grip-hard our souls promising to twist and bend until pain turns numb. Words like: Terminal. Miscarriage. Divorce. Addiction. Fatal Accident. Killed in Action.
There are other words too. So many other words…
The darkness seeps in and joy rushes out. And survival is all that matters. One leaden foot in front of the other. Heaving through. Wandering. Joy is hidden and really, you’re not looking.
There are seasons we must wait for joy. Seasons when Joy has left our hearts; our dancing has turned to mourning (Lam. 5:15.) Tragedy strikes our lives and we pound our chests—eyes flooded with oceans spilling over into the days. And, oh the nights. Those torturous hours with nothing to distract.
Hope is the thing with feathers.
Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,
And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.
I’ve heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.
by Emily Dickinson
To hope. In better days ahead? In others to carry us through? That the pain will vanish? No. If misplaced, hope is brittle—a thin glass bird, waiting to be snapped and shattered.
Job cried out from his dark pain, “Though He slay me, I will hope in Him.” In Him. In our Jesus. Hope in Him brings us through. He becomes the immovable bird, unafraid to perch in the storm of our grief-weary hearts. He is the bird singing to our souls as a sea of tears soak the pillow during our darkest night.
Hope’s song tells us morning will come.
And so we wait. We watch. We anticipate that first glimmer of orange-pink light to touch the horizon. It seems it will never come. But there is still hope. The hope of sunrise—the morning we break through our grief.
Morning will come.
Because Hope has told us, has whispered in our ear and shouted through our pain that weeping may spend the night, but there is Joy in the morning (Psalm 30:5b.)
Some nights are long, filled with misery and despair. But night always ends. Always. The black sky gives way and the horizon cracks. Night cannot contain the joy morning brings.
So we wait, hoping for the morn. We wait for Joy.