The past couple of years have been challenging, in some cases, trying us to the very core of our being. Every single one of us has faced trials and hardships. Some of us have faced loss. Some of us have faced grave injustice. In these moments, our souls feel squeezed to the point of extinction and the weight of the world feels too heavy to bear, and joy….it feels impossible.
And it’s true. It is not possible to find joy within ourselves. It is not possible to find it in distraction. It is not possible to find it in particular lifestyles, relationships, or political parties. Relief perhaps, temporarily, but not joy.
Sometimes it feels strange to say it, but if we are being honest, we don’t WANT joy. It may feel like piling injustice on top of injustice to express joy. It may feel like betrayal.
But at some point, we must remember that rejoicing is a command, not a suggestion. So what do we do?
We start by remembering that two things can be true at once. There is loss and injustice in our world, AND our King has come to redeem it. The only person who can hold all of the tension between the evil we find in the world and hope is Jesus. So we turn to Him, in prayer, with groanings that cannot be uttered. We turn to him in honesty, confessing that we don’t want to rejoice, or that we don’t feel like we can.
The God of hope will fill us with all JOY and peace as we trust in Him, so that we may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 15:13).
He is so good. Let us remember Him. Let us remember that His lovingkindness is even towards the most vile among us…and thank Him for that, otherwise we could not benefit from His love as well. And as we remember Him, and what He has done so that ALL could be reconciled to Him, it will be impossible NOT to feel joy.