This is an odd season; a hard season; an uncomfortable season; an annoying season. I think we can all agree on that, right? There's sickness, unemployment, death, grief, and anxiety all around us in an even bigger amount than usual. The media doesn't help, either. All the news and updates are shoved in our faces. Even commercial advertisements seem a little too supportive, like a brainwashing experiment. And the political propaganda and riots (yes, they are RIOTS) ? Just you wait til I share my two cents. That blog post is coming.
Anyway, like I said, this is an odd, tough season.
A few weeks ago, my husband and me were having some issues, so I texted my mom and just asked her for prayer. Without really knowing any details, she responded with James 1:2-5:
My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him (NKJV).
The following week, my church started a new series about how to be happy during this time of quarantine. My pastor focused on Philippians 1:2-6:
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;
Now, these verses, although comforting, are NOT calling us to remain inactive in our faith. Some Christians take these verses and use them as a scapegoat to just "think positively" rather than being intentional about finding joy in the Lord. You find that joy and peace when you spend time in God's Word, in prayer, and in choosing to SEE what God has blessed you with.
Yes, you can absolutely find joy in the midst of a heated argument with your spouse; yes, you can be happy and thankful in this season of sadness, confusion, anger, sickness, and joblessness. Why? Because our HOPE is in Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. His promises are bountiful and reliable. We are victors byway of the cross, and most importantly, God's Word never returns void. That means that the bible is not simply filled with meaningless words that were written in vain to compensate for how to live a "good life". No one said acting in faith would be easy, but it's a necessity; it's THE necessity. That is how we find joy. Faith is the absence of things HOPED FOR and the evidence of things UNSEEN. Sorry for the intense all caps, but I need you to understand what having faith truly means. Am I the only one who feels as though the biblical definition of faith is not focused on enough?
Anyway, acting on our faith, finding the joy, counting it ALL joy-- it's all incredibly difficult. And yet, we can still lean on the Lord and ask for help in doing that. Ask for strength, guidance, and wisdom (especially wisdom) and He will give it to you. Another thing to do is spend time thanking God in prayer for literally everything you can think of; even little things like socks, deodorant, or paper. It is all from Him. It all belongs to Him.
If there's anything I have learned in the last 8 months, it's that the Lord is my joy, my strength, my redeemer, my deliverer, my counselor, and the ONE I can count on in all hours of the day and night. These are truth's that I have known but haven't really experienced in full until this year. We are all on different walks with God, so please don't compare where I'm at with where you are at. I am only here to inform you that God is so real and His character is what we should all cling to and aspire to be, especially in this climate. Ask God to do a work in your heart. Actively soften yourself and be open to His promises and His will for you. Trust Him through everything and count it all joy.
Sincerely + with love,