Lately, life has been a lil less than spectacular.
I’ve been working six to seven days each week and barely sleeping because my air conditioning was out for over three weeks. Ya know what happens when I run on fumes? Tears. And ya know what happens when my usually-cool home becomes a sauna? Gnats in my houseplants. And a lot of them. My life is really a dream right now. LOL.
The amount of daily stresses (AKA scheduling someone to fix my AC on top of working a million hours and crying all the time because my brain thinks it’s fun to play the “what if my bird dies of a heat stroke while I’m at work” game) on top of working in the service industry and still learning the art of daily loving sometimes-difficult people while handling sometimes-stressful situations has me beat. And I’m not talking the kind of “beat” that’s solved with a two hour nap or good conversation with a friend or Chick-fil-A for breakfast (or really any meal honestly)… I’m talking the kind of “beat” that leaves me venting during even the most pleasant of conversations. I’ve been a delight to be around, I’m sure.
But, until now, joy has always been the obvious choice for me. It’s always been so easy to look at a gloomy day and remember that I serve a God who paints rainbows after the rain. But, these past few weeks I haven’t been gazing at a tearful sky in hopes of a rainbow… I’ve just been glaring at the pouring rain.
I’ve been in a funk, if you will, and it wasn’t budging until Jesus showed me these verses. They’re found in the beginning of Colossians where Paul is telling the church of Colossae all of the things that he was praying over them.
“We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will… being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.” -Colossians 1:9, 11-12
Whoa. That’s a bunch.
First of all, in this prayer Paul is praying that the people of God are strengthened with the power of God so that they can persevere. Ya know what that means? We don’t have to grit our teeth and go it alone. It means that striving to do the hard things of life by ourselves is effort wasted because Jesus conquered the GRAVE!! and is at our right hand, offering us power and strength to help us endure with patience and thankfulness and joy!!! WOW.
So let me start with this: joy is not wearing a smile while we try to piece our world together brick by brick. It isn’t walking through a broken world and saying that we’re okay. It isn’t any sort of confidence that we have in and of ourselves. Joy comes to us through relying on our good, good Father to give us the strength to face each day… it’s looking at super tough situations and being able to endure because of the confidence we have in Jesus alone… that our God truly does go before us, hem us in and behind, and has already overcome this scary world. Joy comes when we truly trust that no matter what happens, no matter what pain paints our world grey or what trials stain our cheeks with tears, we can smile knowing that this world cannot take away our inheritance: a closeness and eternity with the One who knit our souls together stitch by stitch, a Friend who sticks closer than a brother, a Father who cares for us and knows exactly what we need.
Friends, joy is possible not because life is always perfect (sometimes we go without AC and work all the time and have a ton of gnats, ya know?). Life is actually really hard. Walking through seasons of seemingly-continual disappointment can really, really weigh a soul down… so can walking through the disease of a loved one, the death of a dream, the loss of an important relationship. There are so many reasons to weep on this earth… but joy is possible no matter the circumstance because our God is our Strength, our Rock, our Protection, our Comfort, our Future, our Friend and our Fortress forever. Joy is possible because our hope isn’t in a circumstance, a cure, the restoration of a friendship or the fulfillment of a dream, rather our hope is in an inheritance that can never be taken away, a Kingdom of Light that will never grow dim, a beauty that will never fade, and a Savior of glorious might who will never get tired of shouldering our burdens and generously supplying all of the strength, peace, and joy that our hearts can hold. And that, sweet buds, is all the reason to walk into our days, whatever they may hold, with hearts dependent on Jesus, overflowing with thankfulness and rejoicing in the goodness and promises of the Lover of our souls.
All my love,