So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. (Matt. 28:8)

Are joy and fear compatible? The women, running from the tomb, would say it was so.

In the third century, St. Cyprian wrote to a friend named Donatus:

This seems a cheerful world, Donatus, when I view it from this fair garden under the shadow of these vines. But if I climbed some great mountain and looked out over the wide lands, you know very well what I would see. Brigands [outlaws] on the high road, pirates on the seas, in the amphitheaters men murdered to please the applauding crowds, under all roofs misery and selfishness. It is really a bad world, Donatus, an incredibly bad world.

Yet in the midst of it, I have found a quiet and holy people. They have discovered a joy which is a thousand times better than any pleasure of this sinful life. They are despised and persecuted, but they care not. They have overcome the world. These people, Donatus, are the Christians . . . and I am one of them.

We can be “filled with joy” even when we’re afraid. We can be full of joy when we are sad. Why? Because joy is deeper than any superficial happiness. It comes from knowing the risen Christ. On this Maundy Thursday, with St. Cyprian, we can say, “These people are the Christians . . . and I am one of them.”

Thank God for the joy he gives no matter your circumstances.

Ron McClung lives in Fishers, Indiana, with his wife Carol. He has written his weekly column, Positive Perspective, for more than thirty years.

© 2019 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission.