You don’t have to look far to see the dark clouds of pain, suffering, and sadness in our world. Life isn’t always a stroll on the beach!
I’m not sure where you’re at right now. Maybe you’re having an amazing day, or maybe you’re wondering how you found the strength to get out of bed this morning. Maybe life is treating you kindly right now, or maybe you are in a struggle with your sense of self-worth.
Regardless of where you are, or who you are, here are 5 reasons to find JOY in the present!
Where there is life there is always hope. Are you breathing? Are your limbs all attached to your body in the right places? That’s AMAZING! Every day we are alive is a gift; a precious gift that many people don’t recognize until it’s too late. It’s not always easy to view each day as a gift. Difficult circumstances can make that gift a tough one to unwrap. But when we unwrap it- when we make the effort recognize how precious life is- our whole perspective will be transformed. Cynicism and critique will fade away, while grace and gratitude flourish.
2. You’re reading this article.
Now I don’t mean that in an “I’m so vain and you’re so lucky you get to read my writing” kind of way. I mean that in a literal YOU CAN READ kind of way! A 2013 Literacy Report revealed that 84.1% of adults on this planet can’t read or write. Isn’t that crazy!? Think about it! You are within the top literary percentile on a GLOBAL SCALE! That’s a huge deal! The ability to read and write brings more opportunities and more freedoms than almost 85% of adults will never experience. It blows my mind how many more opportunities are available to YOU and to ME because the door of literacy is open to us! That’s a big deal. We are blessed beyond measure!
3. You’re not alone.
“What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 1:9) Your struggles might be new to you, but you’re not the first to face them. There are people out there who have stories very much like your own. Realize that you’re not alone, and seek out wisdom and encouragement from someone else who has already walked a similar road. Being vulnerable isn’t easy, but it’s so worth it when you share your heart with someone and they say- “I get it.” “I understand.” “Let me tell you about how I got through that.” Take that first step, find someone you trust enough to share your concerns with, and be delightfully surprised by the freedom and encouragement that follows.
4. God is working everything for your good and for His glory.
The good things, the bad things, the straight-up-UGLY things, the greatest joys and the most heartbreaking disappointments; God has promised that He is working all things for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28). It’s not wishful thinking- it’s a PROMISE. In this world, we will have troubles, but our God has overcome this world. There is a day coming when suffering will disappear forever- until then, we have confidence that the Lord can and will bring beauty out of the dust.
5. Nothing can separate you from God’s love.
There is no day so terrible that God will turn His back on you.
Your struggles, disappointments, frustrations, insecurities- none of that is enough to scare Him away from you! He can handle it.
Romans 8:38-39 “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
“Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love” (John 15:9).
Are you restless and dissatisfied? Lean on God’s patience.
Are you short-fused and grumpy? Lean on His kindness.
Is the ugly little green jealousy-monster making an appearance?
Ask God to teach you not to envy.
Are you having a hard time letting go of the hurt? Keep no record of wrongs.
Are lies creeping into your heart? Rejoice with the Truth.
Abide in God’s love, and the joy of the Lord will be your strength.
Joy is different from happiness. Joy isn’t fleeting. It is the expectation of good that has yet to come, and a recognition of hope in the face of the darkness. Joy gives us a reason to be thankful- a reason to face those dark clouds with the confidence that although tragedy is a part of the story of humanity, it is not the end of the story.
It’s not the end of your story.