This was from an email from Dr. Melissa Cheeks, our regional representative. She wanted to share some words from a pastor that spoke at a CVM couple’s wedding.
“Joy is not the absence of adversity,
but the presence of God.”
It’s not an uncommon phrase, so it’s probably one that you’ve heard in some form or another, before. I’m not sure why it especially struck me when it was shared with me the other day, but I love the reminder. In some Christian circles or churches I’ve visited, it seems that people ignore the fact that yes, even Christians face adversity. They focus too much on the “joy” part sometimes, and make parishioners feel guilty if they don’t experience love, joy, and peace at all times.
They focus too much on the “joy”
Conversely, some of the most beautiful stories of faith I’ve heard have been people that have pressed into God in times of challenge, and times of trial. I have friends struggling with illness, with loss of one form or another, with depression, with loneliness… and their faith has inspired my own. It’s easy to praise God when we are feeling joyful. Praising God in the midst of adversity is much harder. I’ve discovered over the years that joy IS the Lord. Like I talked about last week, love is who God is. Likewise, that’s where our joy comes from. If we know he is everywhere we are, all-knowing and all-seeing… we can rest assured that joy means knowing him. I cannot imagine navigating a life without knowing God, can you?
It’s easy to praise God when we are feeling joyful. Praising God in the midst of adversity is much harder.
This week, let’s all rest in knowing that whether or not we are facing adversity, God is with us, and by that very fact, we can know what joy really is.