The Paradox of Christian Joy

Sometimes we find ourselves persuaded to the presence of God in all things and persuaded equally that everyone is born to be blessed, to accept joy—if not in our own time, then in God’s time. To say this is not in any way to minimize the tragedies and worries of our current circumstances. Rather, it is to affirm that being blessed is moving ourselves—flesh and bone, mind and heart—more fully into the suffering and the bewilderment of the world.

“God’s joy is endlessly given to each of us”

The paradox of joy in the Christian experience is truly that “they who would save their lives must lose them.” The environment of blessedness as declared in the Beatitudes is poverty in spirit, mourning, meekness, persecution for the sake of righteousness, and God. Yet our society exalts pride in spirit, hides from death, deplores humility, avoids suffering, substitutes bravado for righteousness, and makes God an idea for discussion. But the signs of God’s presence are all around us. God’s joy is endlessly given to each of us not taken in by the facades of fear and the cleverness of cynics. We can choose to be joyous, even in the face of great worry, grief, and evil. We can go forth with strong strides of faith, turn our routines of work into the ceremonies of joy, and become minstrels of God’s glory.

—Pastor Charlie Close