God created us in joy and created us for joy, and, in the long run, not all the darkness there is in the world and in ourselves can separate us finally from that job, because whatever else it means to say that God created us in His image, I think it means that even when we cannot believe in Him, even when we feel most spiritually bankrupt and deserted by Him, His mark is deep within us. We have God’s joy in our blood.
If you are surrounded by darkness, you should read “Choose Joy: Because Happiness Isn’t Enough” by Kay Warren. The cofounder of Saddleback Church and advocate for the least, the last and the lost wrote this beautiful book before she experienced a terrible tragedy: the death of a son lost to mental illness. I know from attending a retreat with her that she still chooses joy every day.
Reading the book is like listening to a wise friend who understands that joy has very little to do with happiness. And that it’s even better.
I particularly love a passage in which she talks about Isaiah 45:3: “I will give you the treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, who summons you by name.”
I have also surrendered to God in the darkness and have found treasure there. This book can help you get on the path to this decision.
You can order the book here.