Have you ever had a day where you felt so much emotional weight that you physically felt bogged down? Like maybe you couldn’t talk, move or even think clearly? Perhaps there is one monumental situation that affects every aspect of your life, or perhaps you have more than one of those things going on that when combined seem too much to bear.
In one day, a family can turn on their own family, an addict can succumb to their addiction, a missing person is found dead, or not found at all, someone you love gets a cancer diagnosis, another is in a tragic accident, yet another loses a job. These are heavy, heartbreaking, human experiences. You may be experiencing a more difficult situation or something that sounds less intense but is still significantly impactful. These can make one feel tangled up in hopelessness. The joy is: through Jesus, there is hope. Hope that this life isn’t all there is. There is better, much better, and it lasts forever!
Jesus is IN and THROUGH us, by the power of the Holy Spirit whom we receive when we accept Him as Lord. We don’t wade through the muck of life alone. He sets our eyes on Him and His promise of a hope and a future.
People who have never experienced the presence of Jesus, the offloading of burdens to Jesus, or the joy we have through Jesus, do not typically respond well to our “Son-shine.” They get annoyed or angry. OR, they want to know more!
We as believers may think that faith in Jesus should make us immune to life’s crushing circumstances. Sadly, being in an imperfect, sin-filled world, means that we can long for heaven where these things will not take us down, but that on earth, we must deal with these and cling to Jesus until we are physically with Him.
Scripture does tell us that the sun rises on the evil and the good, and that it rains on the righteous and the unrighteous (Matthew 5:45). I am not particularly fond of that thought until I think of some of my actions and thoughts and realize I fall on both sides of that fence depending on the minute of the day! HOWEVER, the Lord reminds us that He “is near to the brokenhearted and rescues those whose spirits are crushed.” Psalm 34:18.
I was recently reminded of Romans 8:26-27: “the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.” These verses are chock full of evidence of a loving, relational Lord! The Holy Spirit of Jesus that is in us, helps us. He knows our heart so intimately well that we are tangled together as one. He knows every desire, inclination, hurt, and hope, that we have. He intercedes for us to the Lord who knows what is best for us and is able to make that happen. And no words are necessary for Him. We just stand in His presence. Humble. Surrendered. And He binds up our broken hearts. He helps us take that first shaky step, and the next, until eventually, we are walking, and then running, closer and harder toward Him because we have experienced what He can do and we want more. It is real. He is real. Our joy is complete.
Joy isn’t circumstantial. It is an overflow of our knowledge that through Christ, we are VICTORS over tribulation, hardship, death, life, angels, dark forces, powers, and things past, present, and future. (Romans 8:35,38,39) There is certainty that though our earthly tomorrow may not bring better circumstances, our spiritual tomorrow definitely will.
The photo I have included shows a bicycle that at one point was leaning against the tree. It leaned so long that it became enveloped by the tree and eventually the two were one. What a beautiful metaphor! The longer we lean into Jesus, the more “one” we become. This old tree and that old bike have weathered many a storm together. There are scars on both but they are both still standing. Together. And so can we.