Joy is a fruit of the Spirit that comes only from love of God—it comes from knowing and trusting that the God who is love has our back now and in eternity. It’s easy to forget that that means I never have to sweat the small stuff—and it’s all small stuff.
Keeping our joy involves constantly pulling ourselves back from trying to find joy in things that are passing away. Which is why joy sometimes “hides in the basement” below layers of frustration and sorrow. Sometimes we need to dig deeper to find it.
Joy in hiding
This morning my sweet husband called me from out of town with a computer problem. I began to get frustrated and snippy as he described at length what he saw on the screen, none of it helping me to understand what was going on. He kept his joy through it all; I didn’t.
When we hung up, I realized I had missed a golden chance to recognize the joy in the situation and ignore the lie that I have a right to be upset when my will is not done.
In The Joy of the Gospel, Pope Francis repeatedly reminds us that if we would bring Christ to others, we must remain open to being evangelized ourselves. For example, if we get frustrated when we’re unable to accomplish something, the Holy Spirit gives us the power to see the hand of the divine sculptor at work transforming us into himself.
Finding the gift
Turns out the computer conversation was a gift from God to show how easily I get impatient. How I rely too much on myself to solve things and forget that God’s just waiting to help me—if I remember to ask.
To accept being evangelized by painful situations means absorbing once again the Good News that God’s in charge and we’re not. That he’s forming us for heaven in a situation that, on the surface, just feels annoying.
Thank you, God, for the obstacles and disappointments you allow in my path today. Let me be evangelized by them—to see in them the face of the crucified and risen Christ, who has conquered sin and death forever.