Covid19. Coronavirus. Quarantine. Stay at home orders. Safer at home orders. Masks. Blah, Blah, Blah. If you are like me, perhaps you are getting sick and tired of these words and more importantly getting sick of the overall situation we find ourselves in. These words and the situation they have put us in these past few months can attack our joy.
I have not found much joy in just being home every day and not going anywhere. Tricia and I were supposed to go to Florida on vacation with good friends the first part of April and that got cancelled, and I was not very joyful about that. Our daughter Rachel’s senior prom was cancelled. Her graduation postponed until at least the end of June. My heart breaks for her and her classmates who are losing so many memories at such a momentous time. That can start to attack my joy. Watching church on TV week after week is not my preferred way to gather with God’s people. And on and on the list goes and you could add many of your own circumstances, illnesses, cancellations, lost jobs, decreased paychecks, and more.
One of the things I have been trying to tell remind myself is that joy is not determined by my circumstances. Tim Hansel is a Christian author who loved to climb mountains. One day, he tumbled down a mountain and several crushed vertebrae in his back were crushed. To this day, it causes him pain every time he walks. He said for months after he found out that he was going to live the rest of his life in pain, he was living in a spiritual and emotional cast. He became hesitant. Where he used to run up the stairs, he now found himself taking an elevator. Where he used to call a friend to go out to dinner, he now found himself staying home and going to bed early. The joy was gone from his life. He went from doctor to doctor with no solutions, no answers. And then finally he went to one last doctor. He was his last hope. And the doctor looked at the x-rays and consulted with some other doctors and came back in and said, “Tim I don’t have any different news. There is nothing I can do to help you, but there is something you can do. You can live. Live!” Tim said that simple piece of advice changed his life. Tim said, “It was as though someone flipped on a light in my head. I didn’t know that was an option. I thought I was controlled by my circumstances. I was doomed because of the pain. No one ever told me I could choose to be joyful. So, I ran out of the hospital, walked all the way to my office and I haven’t stopped walking since.”
And so, I say to you (and me), we can choose joy. We do not have to be victims of our circumstances. God’s best for each of us is to be filled with joy. Life in the kingdom is a life of righteousness, peace and joy! And our joy is not dependent on our circumstances but something we can choose in spite of our circumstances.
Todd has been the Executive Pastor for the past 3 year. Did you know…the first football game Todd attended was nicknamed the “Freezer Bowl” because the wind chill was -37 degrees.