Hidden Joys

God rejoices.  Not because the problems of the world have been solved, not because all human pain and suffering have come to an end, nor because thousands of people have been converted and are now praising him for his goodness.  No, God rejoices because one of his children who was lost has been found.  What I am called to is to enter into that joy.  It is God’s joy, not the joy that the world offers.  It is the joy that comes from seeing a child walk home amid all the destruction, devastation, and anguish of the world. . . .

I am not accustomed to rejoicing in things that are small, hidden, and scarcely noticed by the people around me.  I am generally ready and prepared to receive bad news, to read about wars, violence, and crimes, and to witness conflict and disarray.  I always expect my visitors to talk about their problems and pain, their setbacks and disappointments, their depressions and their anguish.  Somehow I have become accustomed to living with sadness, and so have lost the eyes to see the joy and the ears to hear the gladness that belongs to God and which is to be found in the hidden corners of the world.

Henri J. M. Nouwen — The Return of the Prodigal Son, p. 114-115

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