On days when life casts shadows on my doorstep I purposely choose to gather my joys. It isn’t always easy though, is it? I decide to live deliberately.
We may find ourselves grieving the loss of what we knew. I know I have. Hard questions and concerns demand answers–––what will the world look like as our children and grandchild are just arriving? The days appear uncertain.
It’s okay to mourn, to weep and grieve our losses––––I list them and hand them to God. Some loom huge. Others––small, but still a loss that feels significant. I acknowledging my pain, then by His grace, I change my focus, turning my eyes toward the hope that lies in Jesus.
Grief is as old as mankind. Wherever there’s people there’s pain. Mary and Martha, filled with sorrow, grieved the untimely loss of their brother, Lazarus. They had no idea what would take place in the next few minutes. Little did they know that Jesus had no intentions of allowing death to hold Lazarus. “My Lord, if You had only come sooner, my brother wouldn’t have died. But even now, I know that God will give You whatever You ask for.” Jesus told her, “Your brother will rise again. “Yes, he will rise when everyone else rises, at the last day.” Jesus told her, “I am the Resurrection and the Life. Anyone who believes in Me will live, even after dying. Everyone who lives in Me and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this, Martha?” “Yes, Lord,” she told Him. “I have always believed You are the Messiah, the Son of God, who has come into the world from God.”
John 11:21-27 NLT In their grief, Jesus didn’t reprimand or belittle them for their lack of faith. He wept with them and He weeps with us. When we struggle, fear threatening to wrap itself around our hearts, Jesus understands our pain. He bears it with us––for us.
But He doesn’t want us to forget what He spoke to Martha that life-changing day, left as a testimony for us to embrace and call our own.
Jesus doesn’t want us to grieve as ones who have no hope. When I sense life around me changing, I remind myself to focus on the end of the story. Gathering my joys enables me to do that when the days ahead appear bleak.
I count all my blessings and write them so I can see them. There’s something about a pen and journal.
I remind myself we’ve been given a love letter. A road map from the Father—His Word—that points us to Jesus. I read it. I study it. I hold it close and carve it into my dailiness.
I pray by myself and with others, laying my burdens at Jesus’ feet, knowing I can trust Him with my concerns.
I surround myself with people that share the same heart of love for Jesus that I have. Fellowship is key to walking in encouragement.
I focus on His truth, bringing my thoughts under His protection.
These are just a few of the joys I gather and hold close. Truth has a way of dispelling the darkness.
So today, despite the news, the Covid numbers and controversy over whether to vax or not to vax, the apparent discord within our country and even within the church, I choose to live deliberately and gather my joys.
I do not ignore reality—the pain, fear, and anguish of thousands of people right now—the broken hearts. I see them. I ache. But in the midst of the pain, I remind myself to let this treasure rest in my heart:
Jesus is my hope.
I cling to the holy truth that Jesus is who He says He is:
“I am the Resurrection and the Life. Anyone who believes in Me will live, even after dying.” John 11: 25 NLT
Life as we know it now isn’t the end of the story. As my dear mother used to say, “This, too, shall pass, dear.” That never seemed to help me when I was young. But now I am older, and I see the wisdom in her words.
Even in the midst of the storms we encounter. we can say out loud, “I choose You, Jesus.” As we gather our joys each day, our life becomes a picture of hope to those who have no hope. I’m grateful.
On this journey together, Deb