My 4 year old stacked up these blocks today. When I saw it, I was fixated, staring. I could look at nothing else. I could relate. It’s way out of whack. The pieces lie crooked and many in the wrong direction. Until a piece or two gets pulled, the implications of that mislaid tower aren’t known. But you know it if you’ve seen it before. Collapse. Avalanche. You know Jenga. You have to carefully line up each piece and alternate the way they go so that not too much depends on the block beneath it. That way, you can pull out a piece, another, and a few more in turn without collapse. This tower was not made well but at least it was standing up.
Mine, not so much. Brokenness has its perks. There’s a bad block. It has to go. A storm came, the wind was hard. It does shake up the faultily laid bits of my life and they fall away. There’s a lot of hope; it’s not that I despair. But the mess… the mess is hard. That’s my life right now. A piece or two from way at the bottom got pulled. Some things fell down. It was a little hard to get out of bed this morning. I’ve never been good at the falling apart and the pain part of life. It’s not fun. I’m not good at needing help, asking for help, or giving myself grace. In the mess, this time, I can almost see it how He must: with hope. What remains after the storms come is the solid foundation he’s built, the parts He’s worked in me over the years and just recently. He’ll rebuild where now it is barren and there is pain and sadness. Because He is good.
God has been speaking a theme of joy to me for a while now. It’s a concept I never got before. I didn’t used to know know what joy was supposed to be but it felt a little like a cruel joke. I didn’t like the idea that I was supposed to be manufacturing joy, that I was responsible for putting on a smile when I so don’t feel it. I don’t like fake. But the truth is that joy comes from God. It’s produced in my life when there’s a deep knowing of Him. I can’t think of His salvation, His promises, the things He’s done for me, or the hope I have without feeling that study deep joy in me. In making a hard decision that I know is the right one, I feel it. I don’t have to have joy in hard times. I get too because it’s produced in me by the Holy Spirit. It’s a deep joy that can easily coexist with pain and sadness and give me strength and purpose still. Believing in Him gives me a joy that nothing else can touch.
Nahum 1:7 The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; he knows those who take refuge in him.
James 1: 2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.
For now, I’ll go out, blinking into the bright sun. I watched the sunrise yesterday and those days, they do just keep going. So I pray that I’d know more grace and I put a foot in front of the other and, ha, it held me up. I’m almost surprised because the strength wasn’t really there, but it was in Him.