Pastor’s Corner – Keeping Joy
Joy and sadness are not opposites. Sadness is an emotion caused by circumstance and surroundings; joy is a conscious choice to find the good in things. The opposite of sad is happy, an emotion that is caused by things going well for you or by finding joy in the midst of trial. Sorrow is the opposite of joy and comes when we focus on loss and sad circumstances.
Whether you completely agree with these definitions, please hear me out and I promise you will be blessed through the process. Finding joy is always an important skill, but especially meaningful now that we find ourselves in the midst of change and uncertainty. Maybe you love the home quarantine; I’ve heard from several families that do. Or, maybe you do not like it at all; I can relate to that as well. Regardless, there have been and will be times in the future where you are unhappy with the circumstances that surround your life and joy is the solution that God provides.
In the Bible, God never promises happiness. Our Country is founded on the pursuit of happiness, but it really should be the pursuit of joy. To pursue joy is to pursue that which brings meaning and which can never be taken from you. Happiness can be robbed of you; a death of a loved one, a loss of a job, fear of the unknown. In fact, if we put hope and happiness in anything in this world it can be robbed from us. God promises to provide a peace that surpasses human understanding. This peace comes when we put out hope and happiness in Christ alone.
How do we put our hope in Christ alone so we can find joy in times of adversity? First, we need to grow in our faith of who God is and what He is doing. If we don’t believe He is bigger and stronger than whatever we are dealing with than it will be difficult to find joy in Him. Second, we need to practice. The devil is good at distracting us and knocking us off balance. We need to practice clinging to Christ, who is a firm foundation and our solid rock. Third, is to surround our self with God’s truth. This will serve as a protection and a reminder of what really, truly matters.
All this is not to say we can’t be sad. Remember, sadness happens as an emotional response. All the people written about in the Bible experienced sadness and most of them even experienced great sorrow. What makes these people of great faith is that they used the time of sorrow as an opportunity to sharpen their faith and increase their trust in God. This is my prayer for each of us. If you are not happy with whatever life is bringing you right now, use this time as an opportunity to strengthen your faith and to choose to put your hope and trust in God alone. To steal a few Red Letters from scripture I think of the words Jesus said to Paul (through a vision) when Paul was struggling with life. “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9
May the grace of God guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus our Lord.