Can I just say that when I chose ‘Rejoice’ as my OneWord, I had no idea the world would be basically falling apart within the first two weeks?!
Let’s review, shall we? (And let me know if I missed some):
1. Devastating floods starting in Queensland, Australia and spreading to the surrounding areas causing several deaths and many more missing persons
2. Destructive floods in Brazil which have killed over 600 people
3. 40+ dying in South Africa due to…wait for it…more floods
4. And, to stick with the theme, 30+ killed in Sri Lanka for flooding as well
5. Lebanon’s government has collapsed leaving an unstable neighbor to Israel in its wake
6. The shooting at a Congresswoman’s political event in Arizona which left Americans shocked
7. The uncertainty surrounding the Sudanese vote for independence including voters safety and how to start a new state in Africa
8. Violent riots in Tunisia threatening the disbanding of the government and raising instability in the Middle East
9. Attacks on Coptic Christians in Egypt during their Christmas season inflicting fear in worshipers
10. The rising threat of North Korean aggression
11. The one year anniversary of the earthquake in Haiti
12. Let’s not forget the impact of the global economic crisis as well
The past week or so, my heart has been heavy as I hear about disaster after disaster. I know that many people have faced hardships with family members suffering illness, friends passing away. I see calamity everywhere. And in the back of my mind, I keep thinking, ‘Rejoice, daughter. Rejoice always’. I lift up my hands and cry out wondering how I can rejoice at all I see around me. As I said before, I don’t know how to rejoice in every circumstance and I am reminded of this every time I hear about another tragedy- whether on the personal or national level.
How do I dance with joy when hundreds are dying?
How do I remain joyful with our world falling apart?
I have learned two things in the midst of my questions and heavy heart: First, I cannot, nor am I supposed to, find pure joy in the things of this world. My anchor for happiness cannot be a person, place, or memory which is what our culture tells us to cling to during the hard times. They will fail me because they are broken. Second, I must separate my hurt of the circumstance from the goodness of God. That is to say, I must stand on the truths of God and draw close to Him instead of blaming Him for the bad things that I see. I must raise my hands in praise to my Creator always, especially when I feel hopeless and alone.
I had no idea the weight of rejoicing would feel so heavy, so dark, and so all-consuming