Where all this Joy is coming from
Why all this joy? Is she just trying to be funny?
Actually, no. Since the pandemic I’ve watched and talked to people I care about, people I admire across the globe all take a hit in one way or another. I saw the pain in their eyes and heard their troubled heart in their voice.
Then we in Australia also lost access to our places of worship and with it access to gifts of divine grace that helps us on our journey of holiness and union with God. It TOTALLY SUCKS! I see people I care deeply about alone right now and it pains me. The people suffering from the virus in hospitals, medical staff around the clock risking their health, and the leaders around the world trying to make decisions with what information they have: these are all problems bigger than me, problems I can’t control. The most I can contribute to the solution is to pray for them, and I do so without judgement of myself for not being able to do more. God knows this of us all. This global challenge we’re facing is on a scale that’s so big and it makes it so hard.
What about those you know, your colleague that lives alone, the elderly grandma that lives down the road, or your friend’s little brother that has cancer, or your friend who is battling a mental health fight, what about them? We can’t be in their physical presence and we can feel very helpless about that too. But we have this thing called technology that has meant more to us now than ever before as a way of connection. Could we use that to help? Of course we can join in prayer together, but also find creative ways of bearing witness too.
However, as Easter approached, I began to see an increase in sadness around me through these mediums. I kept hearing reoccurring messages of
‘Easter isn’t the same this year…. doesn’t even feel like Easter’.
These impacted me deeply.
To an extent I agree that the weekend didn’t feel the same not being able to DO the things I ordinarily would have and be WITH the people I normally would have, the weekend wasn’t the same in that sense. But EASTER ITSELF is the same,-
It’s the mark of the greatest thing that has EVER HAPPENED on this earth.
God became man and told us he was going to suffer and die for us, and he would do it because that’s actually what love is and in that, He showed us just what we’re worth. That this standard of love is exactly what was written on our hearts all along, and we would need to pick up our cross and follow him. You’d think the story ended there, but NO, Our God is the God of everlasting life,
There is no ‘The End’ when we let Him write our story.
He goes and does the almost unbelievable – rises from the dead. Not from a coma, not from a deep sleep. Death. That thing we can’t come back from, yeah, he came back from THAT! And not just passively came back, he OVER CAME. Death no more! That’s EASTER. Being an Easter people helps us to see that our circumstances, no matter how difficult they may be are just that, circumstances. These are part of life on earth and not life eternal. We are reminded of this reality as Heaven meets earth EVERY single Sunday.
Rooted in this truth, knowing our God not only overcame the impossible in our past but has overcome the World, Everything for All Time, should give us courage and peace, and all the gifts promised us by Jesus through the Holy Spirit. On the day Jesus visited his disciples after the resurrection he greets them with a greeting they hadn’t heard from him before ‘Peace be with you’. We often share this same greeting when we’re physically together as a church too. But unlike us, who can sometimes say those words with a sense of ‘I hope that peace will be with you today’ or ‘I want all those feelings of peace for you today and always’. Jesus wasn’t about that. As Lord, he commands ‘Peace be with you’. It’s not a suggestion, it’s a directive. Having overcome everything, stress, anxiety, suffering, pain, humiliation, torture, isolation and death itself, he has the power and desire to command that Peace will in fact be with you. The only trouble is, do we allow His peace to reign or do we allow fear to sit on the throne of our inner being?
The Holy Spirit is with us always and has gifts of peace and joy that aren’t always seen on the outside. So, accompany those who are suffering in their pain but also look to reveal these gifts that have been granted to you. To live these mysteries, we must surrender. We might not understand why this suffering and pain has to happen, but we don’t need to understand either, despite how much we might want to. All we need to know is we’re here in this pandemic, he’s allowed that, and so long as we seek Jesus, we will be given EVERY OUNCE of grace we need to get through today.
From that inner peace, when the Holy Spirit dwells in our heart and mind, that’s where Joy comes from.
The sad and depressed comedian sharing jokes isn’t necessarily joyful. Nor is it an external expression of an internal feeling of happiness only, because feelings of happiness come and go. If joy was merely a feeling, we wouldn’t find Joy amidst suffering. Joy is a fruit, a gift, and it can only co-exist with peace. That same peace commanded to us by the conqueror of all that brings us trouble, Our saviour and Lord. Joy begins in us by receiving his peace and by allowing the Spirit to work in us, in the very depths of our hearts. Only then can it begin to radiate out to those around us.
Christians, now more than perhaps ever before in our lives we owe it to God , in whose image we are made and to the people around us who are suffering to be witnesses of love, and to bring the fruits of the spirit into our world. History has taught us, that although Christians are called to live the truth which can often seem counter cultural, it is in times of great difficulty that the call for Saints to rise up is felt more radically. So Christians, RISE.
This fight is not over. Our race is not yet complete.
‘Peace be with you’ – John 20:19
My love and prayers assured,
Stina was born and raised a Norwegian and completed her Bachelor of Psychology and Master of Social Work in Australia. She is the former Young Female Ambassador for Wagga Wagga, NSW. Stina currently works with both separated families as well as supporting families with children diagnosed with cancer and other life threatening illnesses.