Why “Defiant Joy”? Why not read a book simply on “Joy”? The answer is an easy one. In this world we find ourselves living in, having joy often feels both crazy and out of reach. That’s why the title of this book includes the word “defiant.” Defiant means to stand against the tide. It means to go against the flow, even when the flow is comprised of a strong current of despair and difficulty.

To have joy in the midst of sorrow—or the current news feed—can seem impossible. And all on our own, it is impossible. But just as the angel Gabriel said after making his outlandish proclamation to Mary that she, a virgin, would give birth to the Savior of the world, “Nothing is impossible with God.” (Luke 1:37 NASB)

Joy is meant to be ours, a joy that is defiant in the face of this broken world. Our hearts are to echo the heartbeat of our joyous God. Now, this isn’t about skipping around in the garden singing, “I’m so happy in Jesus every day.” This is about being present to whatever may be coming our way and, in the midst of both the goodness and the grief, knowing joy.

Believing that sorrow and loss do not have the final word takes defiance. It requires a strength of spirit that needs to be nurtured. It means engaging our lives fully but interpreting them by the highlight of Heaven. Denying the truth of reality is not the answer; being fully present to it is.

The invitation from God to “Rejoice. Again I say rejoice” comes to us in the middle of our lowest lows as well as our highest highs. How do we do that? Let’s find out together.