Rediscovering Joy Through a Season of Quarantine

Loss is hard. No matter how it comes to you, it’s a punch in the gut. It’s shocking. It’s often harsh. In these unprecedented times, we are all experiencing loss to some degree or another. High school seniors lost their pomp and circumstances, glittery proms, milestones they’ve been longing for since kindergarten. Nursing home residents homesick for their regular visitors that bring joy into their lives. New mommas struggling in the newness of life and missing out on the experience of having family and friends able to be around to help and offer support while at home with a new baby. And us grandparents missing out on our visits to our precious kids and grandkids.  Nothing does more good for the heart than a warm smile or slobbery kiss from these little humans!

Life can be hard. But this life is temporary. It’s not permanent. And it will change…loss will happen…Romans reminds us, it’s nothing compared to what God has waiting for us in heaven.

“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” Romans 8:18 

Even as our country works together or against each other to find some new norms, it’s difficult!  Shopping in my favorite little boutique with the friendly staff, unique clothing, nick-nacks and personal touches that come from these relationships are best felt “in-person”. Not behind a computer screen, social media post or if you’re brave enough to go inside, behind a mask. Life just isn’t that way it used to be.  Let’s face it, most of us just simply don’t like it.  We want our life back as we know it…the way it once was.

If one more person tells me that this is our “new” norm, I think I’ll snap back.  New norm…really?  I don’t want this norm, no! I’d rather like to think of this as the next norm which will have a short stay. Life changes every day. Some days more than others.  COVID-19 certainly has made usual changes to everything around us. But we all pray for this to move on…to find our next norm, soon!

Jesus promised us this next norm in his teachings from the book of John. 

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” John 14:27

As we wait and wonder for the “next” norm, can we stop for a few minutes and just breathe. Take a step back and count our blessings of what is in this season of life.  What good has come in spite of the bad?  What has God offered you in this hard time of your life?

Journaling daily about gratitude and blessings helped me in moving forward. Writing is a way of expressing concern, frustration, sadness, and life as we know it. All those emotions that I was taught to push down and not express in public.  Those negative emotions saved for the bedroom or behind closed doors.  But in journaling, I’ve challenged myself to express not just the negative, but some positives too.

A recent sermon at our church raised up our emotions of sadness and how God gave us that feeling for a purpose. It’s not wrong to feel sad, in fact, is it biblical.  It is possible that God gave us this to understand our need for Him?  From sadness, grief, and frustration we can grow on our dependence on Him.  Through journaling and prayer, God can bring you to a place where you recognize the feeling of sadness but then can see the joy in the midst of our hardships.  And as Pastor Hans preached, “Where sadness intersects joy, hope enters our heart again.”  Hope enters our hearts when we recognize sadness and joy can happen at the same time!  

What if we took time during this season and allowed ourselves the time to understand that sadness is part of the life that God wants us to know and experience.  Jesus’ death on the cross was the ultimate sadness, it was awful and it was painful.  But there is so much more to the story. Jesus rose from the grave three days later and from that, we’re offered forgiveness, salvation, and a life beyond this on earth.  Sadness and joy intersected and now we as Christians have the hope of a life everlasting…in the arms of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

“You make known to me the path of life; in your presence, there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Psalm 16:11 

Let us pray….

Lord, in this challenging season of life, grant us your gift of awareness. Awareness of change, loss, and sadness for a life that has left us. Let us spend time with You and ask for Your watch-care over our hearts and minds as we process this sadness with this loss.  Lord, we pray also for an attitude of gratitude in finding the little things that can bring us joy.  More time with family or friends, less hectic schedules, and more outdoor activities. Let us be mindful of these blessings and find the joy intersecting with this sadness. Bring us to hope in the next norm, a hope that only You can bring.  Lord, we pray for peace and contentment as You lead and guide us to a life filled with Your hope and forgiveness.  In Your name, we pray. Amen.

A verse to take with you, memorize or save on your phone is found in Romans.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” Hope – Romans 15:13

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