Finding peace in the middle of a storm is not an easy proposition. When a trial rages beyond your control, you may be tempted to assume the worst and withdraw. Colossians 3:15-17 paraphrased tells those who believe in God to “let the peace of Christ rule in you hearts…be thankful…sing to God with gratitude in your hearts…give thanks to God.”
Maintaining an attitude of thanksgiving while one battles an unseen enemy seems counter-intuitive. However, being thankful to God means we haven’t given up hope. We can be vigilant while at the same time being kind and encouraging to others. This approach means we believe there’s a future beyond the present situation, even though the road ahead remains obscured. Fight fear with thanksgiving! What do you have to be thankful for?
We are indeed social creatures. It’s no surprise social distancing goes against our nature. We need not be alone however in this endeavor. While we are apart from social circles choose to spend time watching, listening or reading things that inspire–things that give the human spirit a chance to soar and not sour.
But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31
I’ve been carrying around this scrap of paper in my shirt pocket for more than six months. Scribbled on it are some random thoughts on the subject of joy. Here they are.
Perhaps you know someone who possesses an ever-present, unforced smile or kind demeanor. These attributes in our increasingly self-centered and angry society make these persons stand out in a crowd. They seem to have such an optimistic outlook on life, suggesting they know something we don’t, or possess something we don’t have. So what is it they do have?
You might just have to call it “joy.” Defining joy can be a tricky proposition. I’ve seen joy on display independent of a person’s happiness or circumstances. Joy seems to be the opposite of regret and feeds on “blessings” (those things most of us take for granted). That being said, contentment and joyappear together often. Those possessing joy seem intent on sharing it, and don’t shrink away from helping or serving others.
Where does joy come from? Some would say an inner peace creates an environment where joy can be discovered. Others say joy comes from hope placed in something, or someone. Who wouldn’t benefit from a peaceful life relieved of some stress.
Consider making 2020 a year to discover and embrace joy. Remember to encourage and support those who already possess it.