A while ago I published a blog called Grace Recognized. That is the definition of the Greek word translated “joy” in the New Testament – just recognizing God’s working around us. And many times, just as His voice is not a loud shout, but a still, small voice, His works of grace are found in what C.S. Lewis called “patches of Godlight” or what Brené Brown calls “twinkle lights.” I hope these quotes will bless you and help you recognize your special God-made patches of joy.
“We – or at least I – shall not be able to adore God on the highest occasions if we have learned no habit of doing so on the lowest. At best, our faith and reason will tell us that He is adorable, but we shall not have found Him so, not have ‘tasted and seen.’ Any patch of sunlight in a wood will show you something about the sun which you could never get from reading books on astronomy. These pure and spontaneous pleasures are ‘patches of Godlight’ in the woods of experience.” – C.S. Lewis, Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer, San Diego: Mariner, 2002.
“Twinkle lights are the perfect metaphor for joy. Joy is not a constant. It comes to us in moments—often ordinary moments. Sometimes we miss out on the bursts of joy because we’re too busy chasing down extraordinary moments. Other times we’re so afraid of the dark that we don’t dare let ourselves enjoy the light. A joyful life is not a floodlight of joy. That would eventually become unbearable. I believe a joyful life is made up of joyful moments gracefully strung together by trust, gratitude, inspiration, and faith.” — Brené Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection
My sister wrote the following to me after reading a chapter in The Gifts of Imperfection:
“I just finished this chapter. I absolutely love the word picture of joy as twinkle lights and not the overwhelming burst of light I have always pictured it as. Now I can look for joy everywhere because it is everywhere in the middle of all the darkness. I have missed joy a lot focusing on the darkness around it. Fear of loss keeping me from fully enjoying what is right in front of me.”
Yes, these little patches of joy are right in from of us. In her daily devotional book Each New Day, Corrie ten Boom wrote of a twinkle-light of joy that God sent to her in one of the darkest dungeons of human experience and suffering, Ravensbrück concentration camp.
“Once, while we were on a roll call, a cruel guard kept us standing for a long, long time. Suddenly, a skylark began to sing in the sky, and all the prisoners looked up to listen to that bird’s song. As I looked at the bird, I saw the sky and thought of Psalms 103:11. O love of God, how deep and great; far deeper than man’s deepest hate. God sent that skylark daily for three weeks, exactly during roll call, to turn our eyes away from the cruelty of man to the oceans of His love.”
A one-to-one, just-for-me, smile from a grandchild, the sunrise-welcoming cries of Sandhill cranes answered by an owl, baby breath puffs and “butterfly kisses” on my neck, peachy full moon breaking through obscuring clouds, a special gift from the Lord in the form of a rock on the beach or a book at a thrift shop (and I know it’s from him, as only he could know), startling moments when I am fully in His Presence.
Consider it all joy.
All = all, every, every one, each part, one piece at a time, individual parts, all, always, daily.
“Lord, make me see thy glory in every place.” — Michelangelo
Image, free download from pickpik.com