I pulled out of my driveway this evening and started heading east. My mind was burdened after a hard day, but I was due to speak in thirty minutes at a local church. I was trying to get my mind in the game, preparing to speak to them from the deepest places of myself, when I saw it rising above the hills in all her splendor: a radiant full moon. The moon was bigger and brighter than usual. It swallowed me in its beauty and stillness. I was struck by a joy-instilling fact in that moment. The moon is 14.6 million square miles of absolute, cratered deadness and dust. That massive light in the sky each night has nothing truly wonderful in and of itself to share with me. Its brightness only reflects a greater glory. All night long, it reflects the sun’s greater glory.
Milton suggests that the reason the moon is so cratered and dead is because it was the victim of that divine conflict between the hosts of Heaven and Satan’s army. It is a dead rock as a consequence of being at the center of a cosmic battle.
Like the moon, our brokenness, bewilderment, and suffering is the consequence of a cosmic battle. We live in a broken world full of cratered lives that are witness to atrocities so awful, I will not speak them with my mouth. Let me never be guilty of romanticizing that suffering. Like the moon, there is nothing sweet or lovely about our suffering, but that does not negate the fact that our stories, all the dust and darkness included, has the potential to reflect God’s great glory in a world desperate for it. That, my friends, is worth considering in our pursuit of joy.
When we point our face toward the Son, we reflect His greater glory. When we give God glory and praise and thanks, as Christ did even at his darkest moments, then we shine in the darkness.
God keeps joy aflame in our hearts when we allow our stories to reflect his greater glory.
Joy is a gift from God and he loves to give it to those who cry out to him, long for him, and praise him with thanks, not despite their circumstances but because of them. If even the rocks cry out, reflecting His glory, then so can we.