Scott DowningHope, Joy, LifeLeave a Comment

This week is quite a week! Monday was May the 4th (Star Wars Day), which is one of the best “holidays” ever invented. Tuesday was Cinco de Mayo. Wednesday was my sister’s birthday. Sunday is Mothers Day. It is a week filled with festivities and celebration of one form or another, at least for me. Now, the exact nature of those festivities look a bit different this year, but they are there nonetheless. 

This got me thinking about celebration and joy and contrasting that to the world that we live in at the moment. It seems that we are surrounded by negative news. Anywhere that you go to access your news you are bombarded with stories of illness and death, depravity and corruption, crime and sadness. It saturates the news cycle, and, unfortunately, that’s nothing new. It’s been going on forever. I was scrolling through my Memories on Facebook today and a verse popped up that I had shared five years ago: “The result of righteousness will be peace…” Isaiah 32:17a with the comment “In a world drowning in chaos, peace is found when you follow Christ. That was five years ago, a world drowning in chaos. It is the same today, and it was the same 50 years ago and 500 years ago. We live in a chaotic world, but we also live in a world in which God gives joy and peace.

It is very easy to get encased in the negative of the world around us, and once we start focusing on it, it gets easier and easier to only see the negative in the world and in our lives and circumstances. It can become a very disruptive cycle that keeps us from living life to the full as God intended. While there is negative and bad and evil in the world, no one can deny that, it is not all that exists, and it is important that we take a step back and make the choice to see the full picture, not just parts of it. 

In Psalm 16, David states, “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” In Ecclesiastes Solomon lets us know that there is “a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;”

So, I challenge you this week, recognize the pain and the hurt and the evil and chaos in the world, and let it spur you to empathize and work to spread God’s healing love. But, also, recognize the joy and peace and pleasure. Find the celebrations in life and embrace them with laughing and dancing. “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”

— Scott

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