“Joy is the serious business of heaven.” – C.S. Lewis
I sway to the rythm of the music in a darkened sanctuary lit only by candles. Around me are signs of celebration–lifted voices, a few raised hands, even the occasional giddy laugh of a small child overcome by God-sized emotions.
I sigh, sensing the weariness of the day roll off my back. Feeling lighter, a smile tugs at the edges of my lips. Joy begins to percolate from somewhere deep inside me, rising…rising….
Then a feeling of discomfort slams down the lid. Feeling happy in church? That’s not the way it’s supposed to work, right? The Christian life is serious–it’s about the cross, suffering, and just making it through this crazy world until we can get to heaven.
But the joy is insistent, powerful. I can sense it knocking and asking to be let out, or in, or perhaps both. I close my eyes and ask God, “What does this mean? Why am I so often more comfortable with difficulties than delights? Why can I receive suffering from your hands and yet struggle with celebrations?”
Then it occurs to me that all those feelings–sadness, despair, discouragement–only exist this side of heaven. They are actually more “worldly” than happiness, joy, laughter. When all is said and done, the darker emotions will disappear but the lighter ones I sometimes shun will remain.
When I realize this, a floodgate opens–rushing, pouring, gleefully gliding over my soul. I sing, smile, rejoice with my whole heart. I feel happy, free, full.
And in that fullness I finally find what I’ve been looking for all along…the presence of the One who created me for joy.