A few years back, singer/songwriter Bob Bennett mused, “I don’t want to be unfaithful, but I really want to know — is there a joy deep as sorrow?” It’s a fair question, particularly when considering the world’s present sorry state.
Insanity and inanity are on the political throne. In a land supposedly free of socialized medicine and its quiet insistence on treating all with equal ineptitude, we see freedoms not so much eroded as aggressively attacked in the name of science. We have an administration fiercely determined to negotiate with those whose definition of negotiation is debating who can shout “death to America” the loudest and, in an odd moment where the FBI decided to investigate something other than Grandma’s whereabouts on January sixth, were discovered to have planned to kidnap a journalist living in the United States who dared criticize the Iranian butchers. The same administration seeks to install a 1960s-era hotline with China, this apparently so Xi Jinping can more directly tell Joe Biden what to do after reminding him what day it is, and please remember to put pants on before the next Zoom meeting. We see Democrats insisting that when it comes to voting, the only good measure devoted to ensuring proper legal safeguards for accurate ballot casting is no measure at all. It is a maelstrom of weakness and madness, delusional dreamers utterly clueless regarding human nature mixed together with those who actively despise American institutions and principles, all determined in their fashion to bring the country crashing down around our ears.
These are the national and international matters weighing upon minds and hearts, yet they pale in importance to those beset with personal burdens under which so many struggle. Those bruised and burned in matters of the heart suffer ofttimes in silence, dealing with scenarios Hollywood would never touch: the gentleman treated as an afterthought, if that much, by the ladies insisting he is the exact kind of man for whom they seek, the gentlewoman lied to by men seeking solely self-gratification. We all know how suffering feels, but some seem to be afflicted far more than should be the case.
It is easy, far too easy, to rage against the dying of the light. It is far better to light a single candle than to curse the darkness. We know these things, or at least we ought to by now. The world is an outrage vampire, sucking on the lifeblood of its own impotent anger against all save itself. Calm discussion, logic, rational reasoning, and respectful debate are not the stock in trade for those feasting on anger and manufactured angst as a means of padding the bank account via preaching to the choir while accepting a generous love offering from the congregation. When anger is called for, certainly it should be utilized. But anger without action is useless self-indulgence.
In a world of all too few joys, one in which even its Savior is known as the man of sorrows, finding joy is seldom an easy task. The way often overlooked is giving to others, not necessarily of a financial and/or material manner but giving of time, of importance, of compassion, and of concern. No one can deny his or herself to the point of self-neglect and destructiveness; we, too, are each created in God’s image and warrant the same love and care we know we are to give others. No one draws water from an empty well. That said, we are often far more capable than we believe to be a source of healing and joy for someone else, in this process being ministered to by the Spirit moving through us even as we minister to others. The refreshed and secure heart is the one best equipped to prepare a mind capable of taking on the world’s machinations.
Is there a joy as deep as sorrow? Yes. It is often elusive. But it is there. Help someone find their joy. You may well find yours in the process.