I decided to clean out the boys’ room today and came across this daily scripture card smuggled into Mason’s drawer:

“May you be filled with joy…”

That sounds pretty good right now.

But I’d wager the current state of my heart actually looks more like that card - torn, bent, damaged.

The last several weeks have been stippled with trauma and emotional lows.

I’ve been filled with grief. Crying into a photo album of memories, lost as to why love was not enough to keep my uncle alive.

I’ve been filled with anger, a lot of anger. Sitting in a hospital room asking why God would give us a daughter only for her life to start so painfully.

I’ve been filled with worry for the war-battered families drowning in a deluge of imperialism and greed.

I’ve been filled with guilt sown in the fears I harbor for my own wife and kids while caressed in Western privilege.

I’ve been filled with pain like the red-hot eye of a stovetop pressed against my mind’s eye, the crackling heat escaping in my actions and words.

I’ve been filled with all of these things, but joy? No, not joy. There is no room for joy.

Medication and prayer and mindfulness and all the things that should work are failing me as I continue to lose a battle with an enemy I cannot see. An enemy who builds walls, each new day another stone applying pressure and eclipsing the light. An enemy that resides in the fabric of my humanity.

Standing there in the toy-riddled chaos (a fitting environment for how I’m feeling inside), something nagged at me to keep reading, so I flipped to Colossians:

“For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”

Oh, there it is. There’s the joy.

Suffering isn’t the absence of love.

Suffering is a reminder of the hope waiting on the other side.

And if you’re going through a hard time too, there is hope, friend.

Morning is coming.

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