Psalm 30:5 tells us that “weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” Oh, joy! Sure. You know, sometimes life deals us moments of spectacular and sometimes not so much. It seems to me that it’s easier to hold onto the “not so much” than it is to hold onto the joy. Why is that? It seems simple enough to understand that some of the things that make us weep, and these relate to the Psalmist’s words here, are anger, hurt, and discouragement. We may not wish to admit to our tears, and we may try to hide them, but they do come. These things certainly would make us “weep for a night.” Why, then do we tend to hold onto these negative feelings and worse yet share them so eagerly? Why, also, does joy seem to be so fleeting? Why do we tend to jealously keep it to ourselves rather than share it?
These questions bring us back to the initial question of why we seem to be more able to hold onto our “not so much” feelings and less able to hold onto our joy. When we’re happy we tend to feel much more independent, don’t we? I do. Happiness and joy make me feel like “I’ve got it” and “it’s all under control.” When I’m hurt, angry and discouraged, I am far more likely to share those feelings with those around me. I guess on some level we feel as though if we share our feelings, it’ll “get better” but when it comes to the negative ones, that’s not how it works. How often do you go about your day and encounter comments like “I hate it when . . . “ or “did you see what he just did?” or “that’s not fair!” or “I have such a headache” to name a few, but how often in your typical day do you hear “wow, I am so full of joy today!” It sounds rather trite, but it’s true that our attitudes are contagious. What we share with the person next to us, they pass on to another.
Joy, on the other hand, is fleeting and like a garden, it needs to be cultivated. Complaining, like weeds, grows easily and quickly consumes not just our little garden patch, but soon overtakes the entire yard and then spreads to neighboring gardens as well. Complaining is habitual. Negativity. We hold onto it. We allow it, like the untended weeds, to spread. It’s easier that way, but is it better? I don’t think so. Words have power in them. In the book of Genesis we learn this in a wonderful way. Genesis 1:3 tells us, “and God said “let there be light,” and there was light.” Those four simple words yielded power and a wonderful world was created yet; words can also destroy. Proverbs 10:11 makes this clear, telling us “the mouth of the righteous man is a well of life, but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence.” God lives in us. We reflect God outwardly to the world around us. We want to be good disciples. We need to pull those weeds of anger, discouragement, and hurt out of our gardens even though it’s hard work sometimes. We need to cultivate joy. As we are told in 1 John 4:12, “when I walk in love, God is present.” Glory be to God!