“Shout for joy to the Lord, all the Earth.” -Psalm 100:1.
The year 2016 was the most difficult year of my life. I was involved in a sledding accident that resulted in a mild concussion. A couple months later, my friend from high school passed away. For several weeks, my son Evan was having recurrent fevers and the doctors were unsure of the cause. Shortly thereafter, I resigned from a pastor position at a gracious and loving church for theological reasons.
My family then moved 1,200 miles to start a new life. We left close friends, family, and the town I grew up in. Through all of this, God enabled me to find joy in pain.
These trials, however, pale in comparison to a young man I met today. At the age of 21, he took a year off school to take care of his Dad. I asked him, “How is your Dad doing today?” He replied. “My Dad committed suicide a few months ago.” The only words that could come out of my mouth were: “I am sorry man.”
A few moments later, he shared his pain with me, a complete stranger. I reassured him God has a plan for all our circumstances, no matter how bad they get. He agreed. I also told him it’s okay to grieve. Grieving is a process. It takes time to heal.
After our conversation, I realized there are many people in this world who are hurting. They need to be reminded of what Jesus said in Matthew 11:28:
“Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” God desires to give you rest.”
In the end, joy never promises 24/7 happiness, but it does promise hope and peace in the midst of difficulty. Imagine this: Joy is the dove on a tree in the midst of a storm. It offers inner peace, but the storms of life never go away.
Are you looking for joy? If so, cry out to your Creator. As the Psalmist says, “Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.” That includes you. I promise you will receive an answer.