May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. – Romans 15:13
A few days ago, I was driving down the road listening to an interview with a Christian artist. She was relating a story about her daughters singing a song in pure joy and abandon. As I listened to the story, I asked myself, when was the last time I sang or praised God with absolute abandon? Had it really been so long that I couldn’t remember? In that moment, I came to a place of brokenness. I began to cry out to God the Father, “Restore in me a heart of joy that surpasses my circumstances.” To be clear, it wasn’t that I was completely without joy, but the joy I had been experiencing was not that joy of being broken and resting in His arms.
Some joy comes from being broken. Knowing that God is the source of absolute joy and without Him, all other joy is fleeting. Tears running down our cheeks can reflect godly sorrow, and they can reflect a joy in His abundant supply of grace. I think of the words Paul spoke in despair when he prayed for the thorn to be removed. In his brokenness, he realized that only God could resolve his situation, and yet the resolution did not seem to be in accordance with Paul’s plan on that resolution. God’s response was that the brokenness that Paul was dealing with could only be reconciled with His grace: “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)
Paul could experience everlasting joy while he felt broken. That same miraculous exchange can happen in our lives. We can have the peace that passes all understanding, the joy beyond our circumstances, if we rest in His abundant grace. We can experience broken joy.