By Kelley Renz
We know the difference between happiness and joy. Happiness is fleeting; it comes and goes with circumstance, with physical feeling, with state of mind. But joy, joy is a constant, or an almost constant that comes with a certain connection with God. It is an abiding lightness of being, a positive outlook that is unshaken by exterior or even interior unrest.
So it is with what I will call belief and stability. Belief, too, is fleeting. I can believe when all is well, when evidence gives way to a firm hold, or even perhaps when small obstacles are met, measured, and deemed conquerable. Belief rests on me and my perceptions of my own strength. I choose whether or not to empower belief, just as I choose happiness. Not so with stability.
Stability is gift. Stability rests with God and my perception of God’s strength. Therefore, stability is not fleeting, nor is it based on circumstance. It transcends what is. I do not choose stability any more than I choose joy. However, I can prepare for the gift. I can nurture a place in myself for it to reside. Through prayer, through reflection on God’s faithfulness, through focus, I contribute to my hold on this great gift from God.
Stability is the reason we remain – even in the face of doubt, boredom, chaos, fear – just because a still small voice urges us to do so.
I vow to stand firm! I laugh,
O God of iron feet:
Tis not my strength with which I stand
And yet You accept this vow from me.
I say, "I love"; I say, "I give,"
But I do nothing of the kind.
Tis You who love and You who give
Borrowing body, soul, and mind.
Fear's below when great winds blow
When rafters come falling down
I marvel as "I" stand among
And balance on shaking ground.
For You touch my self and make me firm
I need only speak Your Name
And amid shifting sands and chaos
My God -- look!-- You and I remain!