Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit. –Psalm 51:12 (ESV)
Remember that time life was full of fun and adventure? When you dreamt of traveling; enjoying new sights, and meeting people different from you? Remember when being on mission, or participating in a humanitarian effort made you feel accomplished and useful? How about when the days of your week got longer and more challenging, and yet somehow you kept fighting with a ferocious resolve to persevere no matter what? Do you ever ask yourself what changed?
In my travels, and through my interactions with people everywhere, I have learned that we all hurt the same. All of us face challenges, changes, and struggles come at us no matter what path we take. It would be easy for me to say that white people have it easier than people of color, or that hispanics are looked down on while other nationalities are praised. It would be easy for me to say men rule the corporate world, while women have to struggle hard to get the jobs they desire.
There is a lot I could say about my feelings on politics and the church, and on the perils of society, or the fall of the human race. But be it as it may, I find that when I put my focus on everything that is wrong with this world; when I allow the negativity surrounding my life to occupy much of my time, I become my own demise. Why? Because I rob myself of joy. I become part of the problem when I entertain the divisive arguments; when I fail to listen because I am consumed with hearing myself talk.
I was thinking about the early church and how they managed to remain close in the midst of persecution, and I found one common denominator; Purpose. When you think about it, what was it that kept the early Christians focused and their faith unshakable, even while staring at hungry lions, crosses and human torches? They found something they could bank their lives on. When lost souls are confronted with their misery, and they realize that there is something better; something worth dying for, they put blinders against the mess surrounding them. When lost souls put their trust in God, somehow, life takes on a new meaning, and suffering seems but a passage in a long road of discovery and wonder.
I want to encourage you to go back to the time when God’s strength was all you desired to make it through your day. A time when pleasing God was more important than getting your point across. A time when serving others was the most excellent way to live. You lost something beautiful a while back…It’s time to go back, reload, and continue the journey. The reason the followers of Christ made it through so much suffering and adversity with little regard for their physical lives, was that Jesus instilled in them a passion, not for what they were, but for what they could be. Think about that as you navigate these challenging times we are living on, then and only then, will you be able to laugh and enjoy your life once again.