Joy is a challenge to find in seasons of difficult change. With COVID-19, thousands of people are walking through tough changes: job loss, sick loved ones, canceled plans, isolation and loneliness, and so on. Those who find joy in these circumstances know something most others don’t.
A dear friend of mine is one of many facing a difficult season of change. Several weeks ago, her family discovered that her father has a cancerous tumor on his kidney. Because of his existing health conditions, he cannot have surgery or radiation. The cancer will eventually take his life. On top of that, my friend and about 20 of her coworkers were laid off last week after her company took a financial hit from the pandemic.
Two blows like that in such a short amount of time could not have been easy for her. As I phoned her with a heavy heart to see how she was holding up, I was ready to have her dump out her anger, frustration, and sorrow to me. Instead, what I heard on the other end of the line were the words “peace,” “thankful,” and “God is in control.”
Not the answer I anticipated, but I should not have been surprised. For the millions walking in fear and uncertainty right now, my friend’s response might sound flat-out crazy.
What my friend has found is joy in the midst of chaos. She is someone who loves God and understands how much God loves her. She said she is able to find peace in a time of change because her eyes are fixed on the One who is unchanging.
That is the perspective many—myself included at times—lack when turmoil strikes. I have been known to put my hope in temporary things, such as my job, a relationship, my possessions, etc. But when all of that is stripped away, what am I left with?
There is a line in the book of Romans that says “we rejoice in our sufferings.” Why? Because “God’s love has been poured into our hearts.” Those who have accepted God’s love for them and live in it have an incomprehensible joy when troubles come.
For me, this joy allows me to grumble less when I’m confined to my house, encourage others who are afraid, and be patient at the meagerly-stocked grocery store. For my sweet friend, this joy allows her to be thankful for the extra time at home, seek more time in her Bible, and trust in God’s plan for her life.
My friend will be the first to admit this season hasn’t been easy. She has had moments of confusion, anxiety, and deep sorrow. It’s okay and actually really healthy to be honest about those feelings. But she ultimately knows that her hope is not found in this world, and that truth brings her comfort.
It is so easy to be consumed by the hardships of life. Doing that, though, means we miss out on the beautiful things in life. Instead of focusing our eyes on the difficult changes ahead, let’s focus them on the One who never changes. You, too, will be pleasantly surprised by the joy you find.
If my friend’s story inspired you to live second, check out the Live Second page where you can learn to become second, connect with a Live Second Coach, and take the Hope Challenge.