I had chicken fried tofu on the brain. Whole Foods has the most delicious chicken fried tofu and I stop in about once a week for it. The problem is, they vary the menu from day to day so I never know for sure if I will get to indulge.
This particular day, I was really craving it so as I slammed the door on my truck and made my way across the parking lot I had one, simplistic thought rambling around in my head- “I hope they have chicken fried tofu. I hope they have chicken fried tofu. I hope…”. Well, you get the picture.
Why the Spirit of God chose this particular moment of moronic fixation to bring up my issues I have no idea. But there it was, clear as a bell…
“You slam the door on joy in your life.”
Ouch because I knew beyond doubt that it was true. I forgot about the tofu. I almost forgot to keep walking.
“Why do I do that, God?”
“You do it because you don’t think you deserve it. You also slam the door to punish yourself. You feel guilty that he is choosing death. You feel responsible. You feel like there must have been something else you could have said, or done. You love him. He’s choosing death and you have to sit helplessly and watch it all unfold. And so, when joy begins to bloom, you slam the door.”
They had chicken fried tofu. I absentmindedly filled a small carryout box with it then paid before walking slowly to my car. I sat there for a moment with tears rolling down my face.
“I know you are right, God, but I am helpless to fix my heart in this. Your word speaks about joy as if it should be the calling card of Christ followers but how, how do I have joy when my heart is so shattered?”
And so, for the next week, He taught me, led me; bit by bit He showed me the way much like He taught the Israelites to do with their own children. He whispered and led as I lay in my bed,and as I arose in the morning. Then one beautiful fall morning as I made my way along busy Main Street in Franklin with a cafe-au-lait in hand, He led me to Psalm 16 as I walked along the way. (Deut. 6:7)
“I have set the Lord before me…”
“Therefore, my heart is glad…”
“you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” (Psalm 16 NIV)
So, how do we have joy in sorrow?
In God’s presence is fullness of joy. So, we find joy, even in grief, when we immerse ourselves in the presence of God. There we find that the beauty and majesty of God is so great, and our promise in Him so glorious, that it surpasses everything-even our most rending sorrow.