In the last month I’ve had the joy of celebrating these things with people I love: my son’s 11th birthday, my daughter’s 22nd birthday, my niece’s baby gender reveal (Oh Boy!), my other niece’s engagement, a single-mom friend had a house offer accepted, a friend got a new car, my cousin and his wife welcomed a precious newborn.
Conversely I’ve mourned these losses with other friends and loved ones: a grandparent, a baby, a Dad, a beloved pet, so many friend’s jobs (contracts end this time of year), a friend, a sibling, a spouse (to death or divorce), the hope of a future spouse to a break-up, an addict friend’s return to addiction. Legal, financial, physical, and marital troubles seem to lurk around every corner.
Life ebbs and flows. Circumstances bend and change.
What remains constant for me is a deeply entrenched Hope in the Lord. An unvarying Truth: God is a good God. An unshakable Joy in the Lord.
My Dad says this:
• Pleasure is a physical response to external realities.
• Happiness is an emotional response to internal realities.
• Joy is a spiritual response to eternal realities.
My first physical response to loss is usually frustration and anger. I want them or it back. Immediately. *insert verbal tantrum*
My typical emotional response to loss is depression. I just shut down altogether. I’d rather not deal with it, so I sleep. A lot.
My self-centered spiritual reaction to loss is to think the world is against me. Instead of fighting against the real enemy in prayer, I turn on myself accusingly: “No one likes you. You’re not worthy of love. You just don’t really matter. You’re fat. You’re ugly. She’s prettier. Who cares. Just give up.” (All, of course, are blatant lies.)
Pleasure and happiness are what ebb and flow with external and internal realities.
Joy is something I have with me no matter the circumstance. It is not based on circumstance but on the unchanging truth of Jesus and how he made provision for me to be with him eternally.
“Sing to the Lord , you his faithful ones, and praise his holy name. For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor, a lifetime. Weeping may stay overnight, but there is joy in the morning.”
Psalms 30:4-5 CSB
If you’re facing loss right now, grieving is absolutely necessary. It allows healing.
But please don’t forget that real Joy doesn’t require perfect circumstances.
It requires faith.
If you lack faith, just sincerely ask for it. Watch God work.
Also, I’m a great listener. I’m always up for good coffee and good conversation.
I love YOU,