Joy Instead

We are really good at being afraid.

We are really good at believing the worst and expecting the worst and living as if the worst is always around the next corner.

We cram ourselves into boxes of “reasonable expectation” and disguise cynicism for realistic beliefs—we despise hope because nothing seems sure enough and resign ourselves to the abundant-less for fear that living a joy-filled and hope-thriving life means naivety and let down.

And now we are all stuck inside, and a lot of people are acting quite afraid. A lot of misinformation and fearmongering has been the pattern of this pandemic.

If there is one thing I know for certain, though, it is that we are not called to live in fear. When we give in to fear, we give foothold to the Enemy who is uncreatively attacking everyone with the same afraid things. What if this is the end? What if I lose everything? What if they die? What if I die?

Well, what if you die? If we are really convicted of Paul’s words when he says “to live is Christ, to die is gain,” death is the last thing we need to worry about.

When we die, we die into the Presence of Christ, which is too great a thought to even really process. Why live in fear for that? Why allow ourselves to be filled with cynicism when the worst possibility we can imagine is the moment Most Hoped For? And as we now live (we’re not dead yet, which means God has and is currently working in a purpose for us) we are living as the Christ-Light and Likeness to the world around us. Right now, the Church looks a lot different than it ever has because right now to Love our neighbors and to seek justice and love mercy and walk humbly with God is to stay inside and check in through phone calls and texts. It is dropping off groceries for the immunocompromised and taking all this extra time we have to press into God and love our families well and do quality work and give outrageously.

Right now is certainly not the time to worry or be afraid—it’s a waste of time to do so. The worst thing has happened! We are living through an absolute disaster and unbelievable things are going on around us. And we are still alive.

“What if the world doesn’t end when the fears come true?” (JJ Heller)

The world is not ending right now. Our lives are not forever confined to these moments where we are uncertain.

We are really, really good at expecting the worst and believing nothing better is to come. But as believers, that’s not the move. No where in the Bible does God command us to gather together and hyper-focus on fear and the worst possible outcome.

Instead, He says I am doing a new thing. He says He has made everything beautiful in its time. He says He is Emmanuel and He is With Us and For Us and Ever-Present in and through us.

What if the worst happens? What if everything is ruined and all the good things come crashing down?

Remember Job? Remember Joseph? Remember Jesus?

There is loss and there is suffering and there is death, but praise be to God, through our Lord Jesus Christ, all these things have been overcome and no longer have a hold on us!

We are living in uncertain times, but we have always been living in uncertain times! This world-changing, upside down pandemic didn’t take away our control or our security—it just showed us how little we really control and understand.

Our God has always been in the business of drawing people to Himself. He is in the business of miracle working and way making and that didn’t stop when this whole thing started.

He did not lift His presence from His people when we got stuck inside.

Revival is on the horizon, and really, really good things are in the works because Every Good Thing is always in the works with the Good, Good God we serve. (Did you know Bible sales have been up anywhere from 40-60% these last few weeks?) He takes all the things we see as interruptions and impossible evils and works them for Good because that is Who He is—all Good always, and always working for the Good of His kids because He is Love. The gates of hell will not prevail—every act of the Kingdom of Hell is being turned into another Beautiful, God-Glorifying act of Joy and Abundance.

So, we can waste our time being afraid, and we can allow that fear to fester and cynicism to relinquish our Joy. Or, we can remember that our God is moving and active and using every circumstance to draw us and others to Himself.

 I highly recommend leaning into the Perfect Love of the Father and letting Him be the one who informs our responses, instead of reacting in a mirroring manner with the rest of the world.

He is Peace and He is With Us.

•••

With Love,

Hannah

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