I ran into Sears and saw at least twenty of these signs hanging from the ceiling and on the door.
I mean, come on! Even hardened materialists understand that more ‘stuff” only buys a fleeting moment of satisfaction and just as frequently a longer season of buyer’s regret.
But then I found myself feeling sorry for the marketing department of this very large retailer. They have to find some way to make their store stand out from other stores.
So, they tap into something that people actually want, something real and lasting. From that standpoint, choosing joy wasn’t such a bad idea.
Except that you can’t really attach ‘joy’ to clothes and tools and television sets.
A year ago I posted the McDonalds ad that featured coffee as the pathway to joy. Joy is still a powerful motivator, even in a culture as materialistic and cynical as ours. And this sign was an indicator, again, that we want our joy cheap and easily accessible.
Our children with disabilities help us understand that joy frequently isn’t cheap or easily accessible. In fact, in the early years I would have said that joy was impossible in the midst of all the emotional, financial, spiritual and educational ‘stuff’ attached to disability. Yet, today, I can say that I have experienced joy in the midst of hard things.
It is one of the reasons I quote Paul so frequently: as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything (2 Corinthians 6:10 ESV).
And, in fact, we do have a guarantee of real joy!
In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory (Ephesians 1:11-14 ESV).
Now that is real joy, indeed!