Sometimes in the worship gathering, everything clicks. The truth of lyric and sermon combine with emotion and folks realize why they are there: to proclaim God’s worth. Unfortunately, I’ve noticed another feature of such occurrences: joy stealers.
Joy stealers can be people, memories, or events. They can be large problems or small annoyances. The commonality is the attempted theft. Sometimes it’s a person whose poor attitude leaks all over the place. Sometimes it’s technology not working correctly. Sometimes it’s a pet peeve or a triggered memory. The particular manifestation matters not.
What matters is how we respond. Too often, I had over my joy, grousing all the while at the nerve of the joy stealer. The truth is, though, that no one and nothing can steal our joy. We choose to give it away; we choose to respond negatively. Now, I’m not saying it’s easy: the confession at the beginning of this paragraph should make that abundantly clear. In fact, it’s quite difficult, for none of us likes our expectations dashed. We expect joy to flourish unhindered; most often, it flourishes despite hindrance.