Every once in a great while when writing we are blessed to hit upon on moment of inspiration…to write something that is beyond our ability. To write well is a matter of education and practice…one can improve or get rusty (as I likely have of late). But to say something inspired is to participate in a truth beyond your own ability or wisdom. I was reading through my MA thesis from ten years ago and found a passage that strikes me as the fruit of a moment of inspiration. I did not remember writing this passage…and I was blessed to read it, not because I wrote it but because it was true. It was an attempt at defining Joy:
Joy is not, as even many evangelicals believe, about self-fulfillment or even significance. In fact, the search for significance in so many evangelical books is but another instance of the church following the world in the quest for relevance. A sense of significance is not the same as deep joy. Significance is dependent upon circumstances. We get significance from “the battle,” “the adventure,” or “the beauty” as John Eldredge told us. These all depend on life circumstances.
Joy does not come from life circumstances; it gives life to man in all circumstances. Joy makes faithfulness possible in the insignificant acts of life, because it makes faithfulness in those acts into an act of worship to God. Joy comes from a sacramental life—a life the whole of which is worship. Joy in the sacramental life makes faithfulness possible in the midst of the boring, the underappreciated, and the mundane.