To the Word

Reflections on the call to live by the Word of God

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Location: Mud Creek, Tennessee, United States

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Finding Joy Amid Sorrow

I first learned the difference between happiness and joy while working as a technical writer at the Oak Ridge K-25 Site. My job at K-25 had been a pleasure in so many ways. Not only did I enjoy my work, but I loved spending time with my co-workers. Several of our group had great senses of humor, and the climate around the office was almost always one of good fun and fellowship.

Then came the layoffs. And not in one clean swoop. Every few months a new round would claim one or two more of our number. As the layoffs drug on, one guy commented that the process was like cutting off a dog’s tail one inch at a time so as not to make it suffer too much. After several months, most of our group had either been laid off or transferred to other departments.
Early one morning as I sat trying to work despite my own gathering gloom, it occurred to me that I was now the only member of my group left in one whole end of our office building. My closest work friends were all gone, and I would probably soon be forced to follow. I felt sad for them and sorry for myself. For days at a time I sat brooding at my desk, unwilling or unable to do much of anything worthwhile. One day I realized, "Aha! This is what it feels like to be depressed—sadness and gloom day in and day out."

Then something wonderful happened. As I sat tbere alone, I looked down into my heart and saw what real joy can be. Although my friends were gone and my own job in danger, I remembered something worth remembering. God loves me. Jesus died and rose for my salvation. He wants good things for me, and he sends his Holy Spirit to comfort and strengthen me. God had blessed me with a believing wife and child, and membership in the Kingdom of God. No matter how bad things may seem for me today, God has good things planned for me—wonderful things, more wonderful than we can imagine. I realized that right in the middle of sadness and depression, it is still possible to be filled with joy.

Our bodies are subject to all the weaknesses of the flesh—sadness, fatigue, exhaustion, depression. But as Christians our souls may be filled with the joy that comes from being known and loved by the creator of the universe. Jesus Christ, the living Word of God, lived and died for us. He gave us the truth so that his joy might be in us and our joy might be made full in him (John 15:11).

Copyright 2004, New York Avenue Church of Christ


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