With my mind still wandering through so many thoughts, I pulled into the parking lot of the coffee shop, stepped out of my van and was stopped in my place by what I saw. And I laughed. A joyful, stress free laugh. What most people would complain of as a weed had pushed its way through the cement of the parking lot and blossomed into a simple white flower.
The bright color against the hard gray was such a pleasant surprise during my tense morning that it completely changed my attitude. I was able to sit down and focus on my work. During my afternoon meeting I was calm and relaxed, despite my lack of control over the outcome.
Scripture tells us,
“Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances,
for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
It is so easy to say “be joyful” when things are going well. It’s also easy to say that we “have the joy of the Lord” even in the hard times, but it is a completely different thing to actually have joy no matter what is going on in our life. For some reason, it seems like we want to worry. But when we give that worry over and choose joy instead, there is such a freedom that can be experienced. We don’t have to be happy with the situation we may be in. There might be relationships or jobs that need to be changed. Sadness might be something we are experiencing. But even through all those things, we can have joy, knowing that God is in control and has a purpose for us.
God doesn’t promise that everything will be easy when we choose to follow Christ, but he does promise to be with us through it all. Look around you today. What little blossoms of joy do you see bursting through the hard parts of life?
“Finally, brethren, rejoice, be made complete, be comforted, be like-minded, live in peace;
and the God of love and peace will be with you.” 2 Corinthians 13:11
Christine is the Lead Pastor at ARK United Methodist Church, a church replant in North Sioux City, SD. She is also a Ministry Coach with MOPS Int’l, wife to Matthew, a foster and bio mom to 6 kids, and an aspiring chicken homesteader leaning on the grace and hope of God amidst life’s messes.