Promises of Joy


In what is considered the most joyful season, I have been struggling with joy considerably.

More specifically, I have been struggling with joy at work. Granted, if asked to make a list of The Most Joyful Things To Do, going to work would be pretty far down on that list for most individuals. A more accurate description of what I’ve been feeling would be the stealing of joy.

Depression, crippling injuries, tragic loss, being attacked by the people we care for; the unbelievably rude treatment towards kind nurses every day. I understand the root of the actions. All of the ugliness is related to pain, sorrow, anxiety; fear is at the heart of anger. When a patient lashes out, nurses know that it is not personal. But it also is not easy. It is never easy being the recipient of harsh, undeserving words.

I do not say these things to be negative. But I choose to be honest about the struggle that millions of nurses face every day. It is real. Probably [most definitely] because we are all imperfect humans, in need of hope and saving.

And every so often I will reach a point that I don’t think I can make it through the work day without breaking. Then I hear that Still Small Voice:

I am with you always.

Where the presence of God is there is fullness of joy.

I am reminded that joy does not have to be cannot be stolen from me, because Jesus is with me always. When my joy is tethered to the nearness of Jesus it becomes unmovable, unshakable.

What beauty. What grace.

And then we are given the opportunity to be the hands and feet of joy. To be instruments of joy that rewrite the wrongs. Not everything can be fixed by joy. Life is fragile, we are fragile. This world is rotten. But joy is still a good thing no matter the circumstance. Joy is a gift and a glimpse of the heavenly home we long for.

I am comforted knowing that I am not alone in the longing for joy, for peace. There is a promise, and the One promising is always faithful. He tells us, For there shall be a sowing of peace…Fear not, but let your hands be strong.

One of the most touching things a patient ever told me was, “Thank you. There is something different about you and the way that you care.”

That something is not joy itself, but the Source of all joy.

It is my prayer that each of us truly considers the life-altering, world-changing birth of that Man. And when joy seems difficult or impossible this Christmas season, I pray we choose to believe His promise to us.

And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.

– Matthew 28:20


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