I grew up near the Atlantic Ocean and it was an important part of my childhood. To this day I have a deep love and respect for the sea. I can spend hours just watching the waves. There's a beauty and a restless excitement about it all. But when I studied the ocean in college I came to understand it very differently than the way I experienced it as a boy at the beach. As a child I saw the ocean only in terms of the waves on the surface. I delighted in plunging in and trying to swim around. Some days it was too rough to risk and other days it was as calm as a pitcher of milk.
It was in a college classroom that I began to understand that you can't make a surface judgment of the ocean. I learned that the life of the sea is far more determined by the deep currents than the surface waves. Miles below the surface there’s a stability that no hurricane can stir. So, do not try to understand the Atlantic or the Pacific by what you see on the surface, but by studying what flows beneath.
And so it is with this thing we call Christian joy. It is not directly tied to whatever storm is stirring up the surface of our lives. Joy is who we are and what we believe. To be joyful is to choose God’s reality for the deep currents of our lives, rather than having life controlled by the turmoil of circumstances on the surface.