Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Joy in the Desert

The hot sun makes cold water taste like heavenly nectar. Lent, like the hot sun, helps to magnify the wonder of God’s blessings in our lives. During this season, I’ve been trying to listen for the undercurrents of joy beneath the waves of Lenten humiliation. Even though Jesus warned the Pharisees about fasting with a long face, the human heart still likes to trumpet our sacrifices before the world.

As we face the darkness of the soul, and we recognize our desperate need for redemption, we might discover a laugh beneath the tears. Can joy and sorrow co-exist? Or should they ever be separated?

Sorrow without joy is the absence of hope, the loss of vision, the desperate spiral into darkness. Jesus went to the cross before the joy set before. So this season, I’ve been trying to spend time reflecting on the wonder and gift of joy. That’s why I’ve been a bit slow getting these meditations out. Hopefully, I can send a few more in the weeks ahead.

I’ve invited our little church along this journey, and I invite you to join the pilgrimage as well. Paul says that the kingdom of heaven is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. How many of us live in the glorious wonder of the kingdom? And how many of us sink in the sands of discouragement, crying for deliverance from our promised lands?

Joy is gift that shines even brighter in the midst of suffering. Let us learn to uncover this hidden treasure buried beneath the deserts of this world.

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