Sometimes an ear-worm is annoying and stubborn, but today a little worm sneaked into my inner ear, the white noise of my mind, and it reminded me of something that I needed to know.
There is a sadness in my family just now. A struggle. Someone we love so dearly is in distress and ill, and there is nothing we can do to help. Nothing except prayer. And, you know, I’m not a pious sweet faced icon of Godliness – I’m just me. I trip and stumble, and swear and sigh. I’m not Mother Therese and not Pollyanna. Just me. And this morning, when I was praying, an old and simple (simplistic!) song slipped into my head, and I found myself singing it, and meaning it, and filled with it, to overflowing.
It’s not a clever or beautiful piece of music, no great flight of creative imagery or emotive melody here. It’s a bit plinky-plonk, truth be told, but there is a wonderful truth in it too. It’s a bit embarrassing how sometimes the simplest, most banal things hit us right where we need them most. WARNING: if you’re not a Christian, if you react badly to open hearted unselfconscious love, look away now! The words that flooded my mind were these:
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.
And as I thought of him, rather than just my own sorrows, as I saw them through him, well… even in the middle of sadness and concern, there was such deep and grateful joy. So I took this little video, right there and then, to remind me during the day, when the going gets tough, just how blessed we are, in this world of his creation.
Though the fig-tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the sheepfold
and no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will be joyful in God my Saviour.
That’s from Habakkuk 3.
Great, isn’t it? We have joy at all times, ALL times.
I can’t quite claim to own and fully appreciate the next verse yet, but I know that it’s true:
The Sovereign Lord is my strength;
he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
he enables me to tread on the heights.
I may be sinking into soft sand, and buffeted by the wind, and a bit cold, and my mind is with the family member I love so far away…. and the day is long and empty…. and I’m a million miles away from any mountain top, but God enables me to tread on the heights, to hold a core of joy whatever comes my way. And a hell of a lot has come my way in my 72 years. I don’t have to screw up the strength to tread the heights. God enables me.
It’s counter-intuitive to feel joy at all times, eh? We can’t do it. On our own we can’t do it, but God enables us. His joy, in us. His joy.
Joy is available to all. God’s joy is not withheld. Ask and you’ll receive, you will. That’s his promise. Whatever is causing your sadness, whatever your circumstances, God’s joy is yours.