When we live in the sacred moment, the here and now, knowing how fragile, precious, and changeable life is, we leave ourselves open to the God of Hope, and we're able to be surprised by joy.
Joy is not happiness. Joy is a supernatural gift of the Holy Spirit, a flow of life within us deep as the deepest ocean currents, not affected by the storms that rage on our daily life's surface.
Joy wells from our belief in Jesus' words: "So you also are now in anguish. But I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you. On that day, you will not question Me about anything." (John 16:22-23.)
Joy knows that for every ending, there will come a new beginning. For every question, there will be an answer. For every heart-wrenching time that War, Emotional or Physical Famine, Sickness, or Death casts our lives and the world's life into a night of unreasonable, unbearable pain, Goodness and Eternal Life and Light will conquer in the end.
Today, in spite of my being concerned about upcoming family surgeries, of constantly being on the brink of tears, joy persisted in surprising me. The joy of finding my fragrant, deep red roses opening. The joy of my husband's warm hand in mine. The joy of not limping because icing my knee had temporarily relieved my bursitis. The joy of a bright blue sky and neighbor kids whooping and splashing in their wading pool.
Sometimes in the darkest hours of the day or night, when tragedy is breaking me slowly on a rack of physical or emotional pain, I cry to God without words. Suddenly I am engulfed in an inner radiance, a mysterious welling up of joy and peace without any earthly cause or reason. Those moments of inexplicable joy convince me there is a God more than almost anything else.
There will come a night that is the last night the universe will know, followed by eternal Day. God promises us: "At night, there are tears, but joy comes with the dawn. " (Psalm 30)