We are living in unprecedented times that none of us could have adequately prepared for. Our lives have been turned upside down, causing disappointments, uncertainty, and fear.
It’s likely that you are missing out on something you had looked forward to or planned for. From something seemingly minimal as my daughter’s fourth grade musical performance, to major milestones such as graduations or proms. All cancelled. A friend of mine had to miss her grandson’s birth due to hospital visitor restrictions. Our local high schoolers worked hard all semester on their spring musical Beauty and the Beast, only to have it cancelled. It seems as though no matter who you are, you have experienced disappointment on some level recently. That disappointment transcends into grief. We must grieve the milestones uncelebrated, the memories that will never get to be made, and the cancelled celebrations. The grief can become all consuming.
In addition to that grief, we also experience the feeling of absolute uncertainty. We can’t help but ask questions like: When will my kids go back to school? Is it safe to go to Wal-Mart? Will my family get sick? Will I continue to receive a paycheck? Will I lose my job? When will I be able to buy toilet paper again? This uncertainty can easily rob us of our joy. It is draining to think of the many things that are simply out of our control.
If we aren’t careful we can allow that uncertainty to cause us to be overcome by fear. When the fear begins to strangle out my hope, I am reminded where my hope comes from. During these times, there are many things we don’t know, but we must focus on what is TRUE. Nehemiah 8:10 reminds us, Do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.
If I’m being honest, I haven’t experienced much joy lately. I have allowed myself to feel anxious, angry, and worried more often than joyful. But when I am reminded of that verse from Nehemiah, I start to understand what it means. In these uncertain times, God must be my source of joy, and only that joy can sustain me.
I’m sure you’ve heard Philippians 4:5 before, Rejoice in the Lord always, I will say it again, Rejoice!
But how do we find the joy to rejoice in uncertainty and fear? It’s only by clinging to the hope we have in our Heavenly Father that we can experience joy in times of uncertainty, disappointments, and fear.
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. – 2 Timothy 1:7
Each day I have to make the choice of what will control my thoughts and my heart. And each day I must choose to allow the joy of the Lord to be my strength. For it is only by his strength that we will endure these times with joy. And I can have joy because God’s promises are true, and he will continue to be faithful…regardless of what is happening in our world.
When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul. -Psalm 94:19