With the events of Boston still fresh in my mind this past week, I found myself thinking about joy in the midst of hardship or tragedy. Finding joy during hopeless situations of life can be difficult. Impossible even. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to find it. The Word says, “the joy of the Lord is our strength.”(Neh 8:10) Yeah, well when times are hard, we sure aren’t thinking about strength. Our first inclination might be, how do I get out of this in one piece!
Tragedy has a way of making you look at life differently. Of living your life differently. What was once normal is now strange. The strange becomes normal. The new normal, as it is called. Life begins to move on a different track. We don’t see life; our relationships, family, jobs, the same. How do we deal with it?
Having lived through the worst possible tragedy a parent can face, the death of my twenty-three year old daughter, I believe I had two choices. Give in to the grief or seek out the comfort of the Lord. I chose joy. This is how we beat the enemy in tough times. With joy.
“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deut 31:8
God has promised he will never leave us. During times of extreme grieving and pain, I wondered how that could be true. Honestly, I didn’t feel the presence of the Lord because I didn’t want to. That would require more energy than I was able to muster at the time. Spending time with God was raw, it hurt, because I hurt. But I learned that God has big shoulders. He knows what you and I are going through. And He is there, never leaving us.
Through this whole process I’ve come to trust the Lord more. It isn’t easy, but I have purposely looked for joy in every area of life, even on days when I don’t feel up to it. I hope you can do the same by calling on His name.
“Be still and know that I am God.” Ps. 46:10