When we watch world events play out right before us on our iPhones, computer screens, televisions, and newspapers (do people still read those?), it is easy to get discouraged when the news is so negative and heartbreaking. In a lot of ways, our world seems much smaller due to accessible technology that we receive every bit of information from the macro to the micro. History shows us that since Adam and Eve, humanity is full of sin, sorrow, and wickedness. It is just that in the last 20 years we are able to get a magnified view with the World Wide Web becoming commonplace. The last few months especially have come in great big tidal waves as sin is celebrated, encouraged, and even fought for.
Sadly we have seen a transgender man on the world’s stage wrestle with his identity, insecure of who he is, because he doesn’t know.
Marriages have been ripped apart and families broken over secret sins of adultery exposing their shame.
Babies unwanted by their mothers are dismantled and circulated for commerce. The big news is that now we can no longer turn a blind eye protesting, “we did not know”. It is a huge turning point in abortion because the undercover videos have forced all of us to look at our own conscience and decide where we stand. By the way, passivity is also an active choice. Inaction is action.
The breaking point for me came when I accidentally ran across the picture of the little boy washed up on the shore in Turkey. Jason told me about it first. I didn’t want to see it. I knew what my reaction would be- complete sobbing. Ya’ll I can’t take this anymore. There is so much sorrow in our world that I’m finding myself fighting for joy.
How do we as Christians maintain the deep-seated, quiet joy that is found only in Christ when all around us is grief? How do joy and sorrow mingle together? I am finding it hard to go about my life full of abundance and freedom, when across the ocean Syrians are fleeing their homeland. They are running for their lives, afraid, literally dying to find safety.
As I wrestle with this, here is the thing I keep coming back to- it is all about who or what I put my trust in. I’m not going to lie, seeing the picture of Aylan, the lifeless Syrian toddler shook me to the core. That could have been my son. He could have been your child.
I have to hold on to the truth of who God is. I have to remind myself that He is Good and He is Sovereign. This is where my faith lies. It has to. Finding our joy in the midst of such pain and injustice means believing in the Almighty’s attributes and promises. We can be comforted knowing this is not the end. Heaven awaits those who have placed their faith in Jesus.
“The Lord has made proclamation to the ends of the earth: Say to the Daughter of Zion, ‘See, your Savior comes! See, his reward is with him, and his recompense accompanies him’ They will be called the Holy People, the Redeemed of the Lord; and you will be called Sought After, the City No Longer Deserted” (Isaiah 62:11-12 NIV; italics mine). “For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning […] You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing to you and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever” (Psalm 30:5; 11-12 NIV). The promises of God are refreshing like a cool cup of water. His Words wash over me and restore the joy I couldn’t find.
Even when politicians act like arrogant little children and a woman is persecuted for her Christian beliefs in Kentucky, we know Who holds the future. Just as the seasons are constant and the days are reliable so are the promises of God. His promises are true- lovely and pure. “I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God. For He has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness” (Isaiah 61:10 NIV).
So where do joy and sorrow meet? The two intertwine at the foot of the cross, in the nail scars on Jesus’ hands and feet. Our Savior endured the greatest evil of all for our sake. Sin has already been paid for, death is conquered and we eagerly look forward to the Great Day at the Wedding Feast with our beautiful, magnificent Bridegroom. I promise, it will all take our breath away when we behold such a sight. But mostly, seeing Jesus face to face will leave us in awe and praise. We will shed the burdens that weigh us down and be lifted up into His light. While our eyes take in what happens around us, our hearts are fixed on Jesus who lives within us, heaven above us. Wait for that Glorious Meeting.
Grace upon grace,
Go Deeper: Psalm 30; Isaiah 61-66; Colossians 3:1-4; Hebrews 12:1-2