how joy coexists with sadness



It’s often a surprise to discover how joy still sits within a sad heart, because our painful times can make us feel so empty and dry, devoid of hope and distant from God.

Yet joy is always present in those who have God’s holy presence within, sitting curled up with cat-like contentment, waiting to spring to life the moment we seek for it, even if we’ve previously failed to acknowledge its existence.

When we search our hearts they feel drained and depleted, but when we seek God’s face our eyes and soul will eventually be lifted out of the darkness and desolation and into a sacred dance of joy – beginning as a tiny flutter on the inside.

God entreats us to stay a while, to rest in His presence until we begin to sense the faint stirrings of joy within seeping back into our spirit. He encourages us not to let our feelings have the upper-hand, because faith is expectant of receiving what it is believing for, knows God’s promises are trustworthy and true.

As we trust that joy will return, even out of our darkest hours, we find our souls slowly drawn more toward the light, inching closer to hope with each passing day. We begin to believe that ‘this too shall pass’ and life is worth living.

Joy is  a grace gift freely given when we abide in God and Holy Spirit dwells in us. It seems mysterious and otherworldly, because it truly is.


How can there be joy

at the heart of sorrow


and sadness co-exist

where there is bliss?


Yet somehow

they are mixed


and inextricably

linked as one


expression of life

and love and faith


and deep mystery

Part of all our tomorrows


in all the annals

of human history


Dear Father,

So many are struggling right now. Life is challenging and hearts ache heavy. We need a sense of perspective as much as we need your healing touch. Help us to see how very close you are, always ready to comfort, encourage and bless, full of mercy, grace and forgiveness.

Your hand is not too short to pull us out of any pit we may have fallen into, even those of our own making. We need to be aware of your presence with us, hear the soft whisper of your voice, know how dear we are to you as your beloved children.

Grant us encouragement from your Word and the ability to receive all we need to revive flagging spirits, lift weary heads, ignite hope, restore joy, bring rest and peace.

Help us to realise these seasons will come to their own conclusion in your perfect timing. And as we cooperate with you in coming through them, we will be able to see the lessons we have learnt.

Enable and equip us to sit in the ashes alongside our suffering brothers and sisters and offer them the same comfort, help and strength you have given us.


*Note* – you can also discover more about how hope and joy can be found in the midst of grief and sadness in another post from this series – just click the link to read it.


Welcome to #day26 of #write31days of journeying into joy I’m so glad you are here, friend!

The poem above comes from my book, ‘Seeking Solace: Discovering grace in life’s hard places’It was birthed out of my own struggle to discover grace and seek joy in the midst of painful circumstances.


8 thoughts on “how joy coexists with sadness

  1. Dear Joy, Thank you for the beautiful prayer this morning, what a wonderful way to start my day. I loved this picture: “God’s holy presence within, sitting curled up with cat-like contentment.” Truly, He is not ruffled by the ups and downs that we feel, is He? If His Faithfulness and His Grace are so steady and secure, then why do I doubt that His Joy is just as secure? I am so grateful for the Truth that you bring to light, my friend! May you be blessed with more of that joy and strength today! xoxo

    • Dear Bettie, you are more than welcome! I’m so pleased the prayer met you at a place of need. It’s true that God remains unruffled by our reactions, and His stability becomes an anchor for our wavering feelings. I think God knows what we are ready to receive and can accept at any given point in time. We are never a surprise to Him. And though we may chastise ourselves for a perceived lack of growth, I think He is whispering a warm well done to us with each tiny faith step we take. I am so grateful for the insights God has given me as I’ve been writing this series. They may just end up in a book one day! I definitely need to be strong in mind and body as I seek to discover the best way to end this journey into joy for now. It’s always a beautiful blessing to see you here, my friend! xoxo

    • Oh Laurie, your words are so breathtakingly poetic and lovely that I keep rereading them! Your presence here lifts my flagging spirits on an evening when our PC crashed for a while and I worried I wouldn’t be able to complete the work still ahead of me. Thankfully, all is restored and a holy calm has overtaken calamity! So blessed you stopped by, dear friend. xox

      • Yikes, sorry to hear of the computer crash. That’s enough to make anyone a little crazy. I’m thanking God with you for restoration and the “holy calm” — a far cry from calamity. I never noticed the subtle spelling and phonetic echoes in those two words before. 🙂

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