Let’s face it, the first half of the year 2020 hasn’t offered any of us the easiest of times. Maybe you’ve lost someone you loved to COVID-19. Maybe you’ve been ill, yourself. Perhaps your business has failed as a result of the economic downturn. And then just as we felt we could finally talk about something else, we were all faced with the fallout from our systems that promoted systematic racism. Where do we find joy in any of that?
- Know you’re not alone. James writes that “whenever you face trials of any kind, consider it nothing but joy, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance” (James 1:2-3). Job lost everything but still praised God. We are surrounded by a cloud of witnesses cheering us on; that has to make you smile!
- Shift your perspective. No matter what is happening in your life, there are places to find joy—even if it’s only in acknowledging that things could be worse. Look around you, right now, this moment, and see the things you have to be thankful for. God never sends trials without sending gifts as well.
- Don’t get confused. Joy is not the same thing as happiness. Happiness is a feeling that comes and goes, buffeted by life’s circumstances; joy, on the other hand, abides. Experiencing God’s joy is a choice. During dark days, when we think we just can’t make it another step, let’s remember that Jesus never leaves us, no matter how unhappy we may feel.
“Joy,” writes Pope Francis, “does not mean living from laugh to laugh. No, it’s not that. Joy is not entertainment. No, it’s not that. It is something else. Christian joy is peace, peace that is deeply rooted, peace in the heart, the peace that only God can give. This is Christian joy.”
We wish it to you all.
Photo: Abed Mhajne for Unsplash