To achieve true and lasting joy in this broken world, one must come to know God's character and hold to the unwavering belief that sorrow and loss do not have the final say, a New York Times best-selling author has said.
We live in a society defined by heartbreak, loss, and hopelessness. But amid this dark reality, Christians have the opportunity to choose love over fear and experience a joy rooted in the hope found in Christ, Stasi Eldredge, author of Defiant Joy, told The Christian Post.
"Every day, you get on Facebook and you watch the news and your heart breaks for what is going on in people's lives," she said. "We seem so rooted in hopelessness, and that's the antithesis of Christianity."
"Every moment, we are faced with the choice to either be buried by what we see and have that be the canopy under which we live, or to choose to actually obey what we are instructed to in the Word of God: To fix our eyes on Jesus, to choose to ask Him for grace in the face of suffering."
Eldredge, who is also the director of the women's ministry at Ransomed Heart and author of Captivating, told CP that choosing joy doesn't mean denying that pain exists or diminishing the reality of pain and loss. Instead, it means understanding that suffering and joy can coexist.
"Joy isn't about singing in the garden all day; it's not even about a feeling," she explained. "It's about coming to know God more deeply and understanding His character, goodness, and immeasurable love. Joy is the heartbeat of Heaven. It's about acknowledging the reality of the world we live in, but understanding that death doesn't have the final say. It's a shift of gaze. It's holding to the deepest reality that God reigns over the universe and that nothing is up for grabs."
Eldredge speaks from experience; she told CP Defiant Joy was written in "one of the most difficult years" of her life.
"We lost a brother, we lost our first grandson, we lost our best friend," she said. "I was also in the worst physical pain I'd ever felt in my life due to a hip replacement and struggling with depression."
She continued, "In the midst of my pain, God began to speak to me about my heart being tethered to His in such a way that the reality of my life wasn't something that should bury me, but someplace for me to come to know that He is unwavering, that He isn't thrown by loss, and that loss doesn't have the final say."
In her book, the Kansas native shares personal stories, deep vulnerability, and practical steps readers can take to have the kind of joy that is present in both goodness and grief.
"Joy is achieved by cultivating a life of prayer and by placing our hope fully in the glory that's going to be revealed in Heaven," she said. "Our hope must be fully planted in the life that's coming to us. When we rest in this, the tragedies that come our way do not have the power to knock us flat."
Defiant Joy, set to release on Oct. 16, is an invitation to press into the heart of God in new and life-giving ways and a reminder that through Christ, joy is possible in even the most painful seasons.
"I want readers to develop a deep-rootedness in God; to understand that He sees them, He loves them," the author said. "He doesn't want them to deny the pain they're experiencing, but to believe that He's a beautiful God of hope and miracles who can do great things."
To learn more about Defiant Joy or to pre-order the book, click here.