Joy Ave & Brokenness Rd

(Last week was my birthday, and I posted the below on my Facebook Page. I thought I'd share it here. BTW, speaking of Facebook: For the past few Tuesdays, I've been doing a Facebook Live Q&A over on my page. I'm doing another one today at 4:30 pm EST and will be joined by my dad! Join in on the fun here!)

Today's my 38th birthday. (Insert the obligatory, "Am I really this old?!" remark.)

I was thinking back on my 37th year on earth. So many good things happened. I managed to (self-) publish two books and make strides in my business. Diana and I adopted our son, Emmett, something we had longed to happen for a while. By all accounts, it was a good year, and I am so grateful.

But at the same time, it was a year of grief, isolation, and sadness. The pandemic was in full swing as I turned 37. While Diana and I thankfully both stayed healthy through it, we've known several people who have been hurt by it. (Whether it'd be physically, emotionally, financially, etc.). There seemed to be a low-grade anxiety even on the best days. And even now, as the world slowly gets back to some kind of normalcy, there is still grief in everyday life. There is still hurt to battle.

Joy and Brokenness. These are two things to recognize and two things to hold in tension with each other.

The Gospel of Jesus intersects at Joy Ave. and Brokenness Rd. The Gospel says we were joyfully and beautifully created by God and yet are broken. The world isn't as it should be, and we continuously add to the mess. But the story doesn't end there. Jesus is joyfully redeeming all things, including us.

The Gospel without joy isn't good news. It's despair. It's like an indie film with one of those sad, depressing endings. Life is meaningless, we're all going to die, and there's nothing we can do about it. Now, who wants ice cream?!

But the Gospel without brokenness isn't good news, either. It's phony. It's a caricature. It paints a happy face on everything and pressures us to "turn that frown upside down." It may work for a while, but, ironically, pretending to be unbroken will break us.

Joy and Brokenness. On this birthday, I want to reflect on both.

Oh, and that's a birthday cookie from Panera. So much joy and about to be broken!