By Jake Hall

published in Family Matters eNewsletter, October 8, 2015

One of the greatest joys of fatherhood, for me, has been introducing Logan to new books or movies. As an imaginative three-year-old, he really gets into the story in a new way as reality is blurred with fantastic tales of heroes and super powers in worlds long ago and far away. 

I was surprised recently by a children’s movie with the potential to cause children and adults to reflect on, not a world long ago and far away, but instead our inner life active right here and right now. Inside Out tells the story of a young girl as her family moves to a new city. The lack of friends and family stir the emotions. The story invites both the young and the young at heart of any age to consider how they are feeling.

The real story is told through the personified emotions of Anger, Joy, Sadness, Disgust and Fear. These “managers” run the control room of the little girl’s mind. When the characters of Joy and Sadness get lost then both confusion and adventure ensue. I won’t give away the whole story, but until Joy and Sadness are held together nothing is right. Finding Joy proves difficult, and yet nothing is right. Finding Joy proves difficult, and yet when Joy and Sadness are found working together the story resolves.

Christian hope is like that: the holding of joy and sadness at the very same time in just the right way. As the Apostle Paul writes, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say,
Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near.” In other words, have joy, not because what you have, but because what you may expect in Christ who is nearer than you know. In Christ we hold just that kind of joy-filled mystery.