So, the news for the past who-knows-how-long has been so full of despair. The national broadcasting stations encroach a ray of anti-hope for all who watch. The Boy and I were talking some weeks ago and confessed that the news was a source of exhaustion for us and that we were simply tired of it. And we’re not alone. But really, it’s not “the news” we are saddened by, it is the state of the land around us. In the people, in the politics, in the cultures, in the countries, in the races, between the age groups, in families, there seems to be a darkness pulling at us. If you want to be politically correct, everyone has an agenda, but they all seem to be no good for anyone. Sigh.
So, I recently sat down with the Word and God, and asked with a clear mind what He had to teach me about joy. See, I found myself feeling obligated to walk around as a perpetual funeral-goer because of all the deaths and horror that was being depicted to us. I began to let fear creep in a bit and started to fear for my future children, for my sweet students who will pass from my tutelage in five short months, for my family and those I love as the world progresses into a seemingly unavoidable darkness. I finally arrived at the big question….Is it ok to have joy amidst a world of terror, darkness, and fear?
I was afraid of what it would look like to be happy, fearless, laughter-filled, and joy-provoking when such terrible things are happening in the world around us. I feared guilt or even being perceived as ignorant and lackadaisical to the unacceptable state of us. I was scared to be an encourager around discouragement. I feel this way in my job too. The dark has crept into the workplace too in the form of annoyed, dissatisfied, restless workers. It’s everywhere.
But I am here to encourage. To bring joy. To bring hope. And many laughs! YAAAAASSSSSSSSSS It is not of me from which I write, but of the Lord our God. There is SO MUCH untapped joy that is meant for us to shine into the darkness around us. In short truth, no matter the state of the world, no matter the condition of those around you, the gift of joy is awaiting you. OH, AND GUESS WHAT? THERE’S ANOTHER FREE GIFT! Do you know what it is? It is strength! Nehemiah 8:10 says “Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”
Did you know that joy is anti-fear? The Boy asked me, “Why do you think we are to have joy?” after I told him what Holy Spirit was teaching me about joy. From scripture, it has dynamic purpose. Here are just a few of my personal reasons that He told me….
- Words/states like “despair”, “discourage”, “fear”, and “terror” are not of the Lord. If we are to know our Lord and Savior, and be found in Him, we must adopt “love”, “JOY”, “peace”, “hope”, “light”, and other traits (like the Fruit of the Spirit), just like He adopted us into His family.
- Our Father is Light, Peace, Joy, The Guide, and if our desire is to be like Him, then by logic, we are vessels of His light into the world.
- Jesus is our Great Hope. Logically, if we as sons and daughters of God, we are to provide hope for those around us. What people will there be to bring hope and joy if we fall into the same rut as those who are hopeless and disparaged?
With His birthday in just a few short days, we have a great need for hope and joy. This fear epidemic has no power over us. Pick up your pen, phone, or whatever you use the most and list out some things you love, things that make you laugh, and things you are grateful for. Instead of waging war with fear, wage peace, wage joy, dish out encouragement, and hope in a dark world. For we know He is the only way. Our One Hope, The Great Sacrifice, The Close One, The Great I Am, The Joy, The Risen King! Be encouraged, brothers and sisters. He is closer than you think, and joy is just a moment away. 🙂