Note:  This devotional was written for the “Wherever” Devotional book, published for Village Creek Bible Camp in Lansing, IA.  Available Here.  I am posting it today in honor of #AMCawarenessday, and as a reminder to all of us that God has a joy-filled purpose for everything He writes into our story.

Psalm 30:5 (ESV)
5 For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime.
Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.

“Dad, it’s not good.” I was trying to hear through the fuzzy bluetooth connection, register what was happening and hurtling down the highway at 75 miles per hour. My oldest son called to give an update on the birth of our first granddaughter, Clara Grace. We asked what was wrong and through tears, he said, ”a lot.” Clara was born with arthrogryposis; a name we wouldn’t learn until much later. What it meant was that her arms and legs were bent, her joints were tight and constricted.  At that moment, breathing was the big concern.

     For the next 90 minutes, my wife and I cried, prayed, and hoped. We couldn’t imagine the pain our kids were feeling. My anxiety and pain increased as I anguished and rehearsed what life might hold in the days ahead. At the hospital, we heard the updates, and as a family went into the NICU. I sat in a chair and Andrew handed me his little girl. She seemed half her size. Her legs were bent. Her chin was small.  Her arms gripped her torso, unable to stretch. She was a bundle, all balled-up.

     I held her, afraid and filled with love. I was also filled with a palpable joy. My tears flowed as I told her again and again that she was loved. God loved her and so did we. Where did the joy come from? It didn’t come from empty promises of an easy life. Nor did it come from any knowledge that this would be fixed. It came from getting a glimpse that Clara’s story was part of God’s story of grace and redemption. The joy came from understanding the Author of all things was writing a story that only she could live. And because He’s good, her story would be good.

     The psalmist wrote, “Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes in the morning.” Weeping may hang out in darkness, but something happens in the light of day. It doesn’t fix things. The light of day brings clarity. It helps us see that God’s at work. There is One who is carefully and skillfully crafting a story for us to live with Him. Clara Grace’s name means “clear grace.” That is what the morning brings, a view of God’s clear grace. When we see it we know great joy, even with tears.

     Father, thank you for the joy the morning brings. Thank you for the the windows through which the light of understanding comes. Thank you for the joy the floods my heart.  In every moment of sorrow, or frustration today, help me wait with you for the clarity only You can give.  And in this glimpse fill me with unending joy!  In Christ’s name and for your glory!  Amen.