Since the beginning days of the coronavirus and the drama that unfolded in the response to it, the racial tensions that began exploding soon after, and a crazed political environment, the world has seemed to have just gone mad. Every issue seems to polarize us, dividing friends, family, and most disturbingly the church. In a matter of months, what we considered the normalcy of life has been discarded. I’ve seen a lot of dramatic changes in my lifetime, but never ones that occurred so suddenly and were so divisive.
I don’t know when or if this all ends, or what life looks like on the other side of this seemingly unending tunnel of darkness. But somehow, in the middle of all the chaos and uncertainty, I have found my joy of the Lord increasing. I am more aware of His presence than ever, and despite the anger and confusion swirling around me, I am at peace.
The dichotomy of my mindset is not lost on me. Most of my life has always been best summed up by that word: dichotomy. From the deepest depths of my soul, where spiritual warfare rages between the light of Jesus and the darkness of Satan, I have always felt pulled in opposite directions at the same time. I would not say my life has been one of happiness, but God has filled it with joy. It’s my belief I wasn’t created to be happy, but to experience the joy of the Lord. The pain of others and the evil in the world affect me too profoundly to experience happiness for too long. But year by year, my absolute joy in Christ has grown. I can’t explain it, but it is a marvelous experience. No matter what trouble or heartbreak invades my life, the joy of the Lord remains and grows ever stronger.
I share these things because, in this season of madness and hatred, we have the opportunity to dive deeper into the rich glory of our King. Where else can we go for comfort? The lockdowns have taken away much of what we used to use as a poor substitute for the love of Christ. We live in a reality where, at least temporarily, we are far more isolated and alone. While this seclusion affects the more introspective and stoic individuals like me less than the gregarious and social souls, the opportunity for drawing closer to Christ is the same for people of all personalities.
Do not let the secluded moments of these days pass by you without seizing the opportunity within them. The joy of the Lord is there, waiting for you to discover and rest in it. If we squander these days when our distractions are fewer, how do we expect to draw closer to God once the noise and busyness returns? I understand for some, these days have brought sickness, job loss, and severe emotional strain. Be still. Be at peace. Nothing has escaped the notice of our Lord. He knows your needs, and He feels your pain. Before you even cry out, His hand is reaching toward you.
Use this time to practice new spiritual disciplines. Study a book of the Bible. Memorize Scripture, perhaps for the first time in your life. Spend quiet time alone in prayer with your Savior. Fast from food, entertainment, or other vices. Seek Him and entrust everything to Him. God’s Word promises if we seek Him, He will be found. The joy of the Lord waits for you to discover it. It will fill you and sustain you, freeing you from despair. Hold fast to your faith and seek His face. The world may be on the brink of hopelessness, but Jesus is waiting to hold you and bring you peace. Don’t waste these days. Seek the joy of the Lord and He will be your strength (Nehemiah 8:10).