It is easy to deduct that joy is the absence of suffering. This is not the case. Pain is real AND God is present. Joy and suffering can coexist because joy is transcendent. It seems ridiculous. It doesn’t make sense. It is disarming—God inherently brings joy in all things—so when we are in tune with the spirit, we start to experience that joy even when it feels like we shouldn’t.
If the Gospel is really the good news that we get to be a part of, how can we experience that in the midst of all this suffering? How can we live into what we are already expecting—more brokenness—and possess an unmovable hope which evokes gratitude? How can joy be the perpetual disposition of our mind and character when it seems to contradict what we are actually experiencing?
Let us recognize that joy is both internal and communal. We can experience joy in solitude, and the ability to do so is of immeasurable value, but it is crucial that we do not neglect our interdependence.
We are good at getting in the pit together. We are good at being vulnerable to let people into our pain, but we need the resurrection side too. It is ok to be sad, and even better to be sad together, but it is not ok to ignore what is happening next.
We must not let our misery turn to despair. Right now we cannot see beyond act two, filled with tragedy, and perhaps we have lost heart…but we have the inkling somewhere within ourselves that act 3 is coming. It hardly seems possible, but the playwright himself has assured us that all things will be made new.