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Finding Joy in a Broken World
February 3, 2010 A Long Obedience in the Same Direction


How on earth is is possible to find joy in this broken world? No matter where you watch, left or right, you see terrible hard ships and things gone awry, broken hearts and crushed lives. What to do? How to handle all this pain? How can we go on with living when things are so wrong?

One way to force joy into life is trying to eliminate things that hurt and then try to lighten the boredom of that numbness by buing joy in entertainment, says Eugene H. Peterson. The joy comes because God knows how to wipe away tears. In his resurrection work God creates the smile of new life. Joy is what God gives, not what we work up! This joy isn’t dependent on our good luck in escaping hardship. It isn’t dependent on our good health and avoidance of pain. Christian joy is actual in the midst of pain, suffering, loneliness and misfortune!(Peterson, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction, 2000)

“We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!” (Romans 5:3-5, the Message Bible)

But what about the broken world? First of all, we can pray, pray and pray. The power of prayer is amazing! We are also called to work towards social justice and easing each other’s pain. We can make a difference as God works through us. Let’s start with the prayer of St.Francis:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy;

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Amen.

Q4U: How do you find joy in a broken world?

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