She gave me a wry grin and shook her head. “Is that getting old?” I asked.
“Yes,” she said, but her laughter told me she (sorta) liked my little comedy routine.
Now that my daughter and husband (and most of us) are doing school and work at home, I say, “Drive safe!” and “See you tonight!” as one heads upstairs with her coffee and one heads downstairs with his tea.
We attempt to keep things light inside as the news outside gets heavier.
Seven years ago, in February of 2013, I copied down the following book quote in my journal.
“I have discovered that a joyful countenance has nothing to do with one’s age or one’s occupation (or lack of it) or one’s geography or education or marital status or good looks or circumstances … joy is a choice! It is a matter of attitude that stems from one’s confidence in God – that He is at work, that He is in full control, that He is in the midst of whatever has happened, is happening, and will happen. Either we fix our minds on that and determine to laugh again, or we wail and whine our way through life, complaining that we never got a fair shake. We are the ones who consciously determine which way we shall go!” (Charles R. Swindoll in Laugh Again)
I wrote this sentence directly underneath, Today and every day I will choose joy!
I don’t remember what prompted me to write that quote and sentence, but my guess is this – my yearly case of the February blahs. It seems laughable today. What I wouldn’t give to be in a regular winter funk, how about you?
What did we even worry about before this pandemic started?
The COVID-19 crisis and mandatory sheltering at home are unparalleled in our lifetimes.
When will this end? Will we or our loved ones get the virus? If we do, will we get sick enough to go to the hospital? Will we get sick enough to die?
These are questions we ask ourselves as we lie in bed at night. These are questions hesitantly asked by our children.
The real answer is, yes, we are going to die.
None of us ever knows when.
We go through our lives not wanting to think about or bring up the subject. It’s taboo and morbid to continue on about it in conversation, causing others to clear their throats and say, “ok, anyway … let’s talk about something else.”
But remembering that life on earth is short and temporary helps us stay focused, on what and who we should stay focused on.
Life is fleeting and fragile – it was before this epidemic and it will be after.
Our purpose and reason for being is to honor and glorify God and each morning it’s important to get up with intentionality to look for our own individual and unique ways of doing so.
How can we live with a posture of humility and grace, extending God’s love to all people and all creatures?
One way is to not waste a minute on things that aren’t respectful to God, things that grieve His heart and anger Him.
These include actions or attitudes like vulgarity, sexual immorality, hatred, violence, haughtiness, greed, wickedness, contentiousness, and dishonesty.
Instead, our focus should be on the multitude of ways that we can honor and glorify Him: through Love, Forgiveness, Kindness, Tenderness, Selflessness, Servitude, Honesty, Empathy, Compassion, Joyfulness, Goodness, and Love.
Did I mention Love?
If we gather one take away from this unprecedented time, let it be this.
God is in control and we are not.
We are to Love Him and love others. It’s that simple.
That’s the way to bring honor and glory to the maker of heaven and earth.
That’s the way to bring our life’s design into clear view, and to feel a soothing peace in our hearts that simplicity and clarity usher into our days.
That’s the way to bring more joy into our lives, and keep it there.
That’s what will matter when our last days eventually come.
God’s love is amazing and abundant, infinitely and eternally more vast than all the drops of water in the oceans.
When Charles Swindoll penned those words above, he had no idea what the world and the United States would be facing in 2020. But God did.
Invite Jesus in, and trust Him throughout every good and bad day. Choose to place your confidence in, and live for Him. Feel His loving arms wrapped around you.
You’ll have joy, unspeakable joy, both now and forevermore.
Romans 15:13 “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Psalm 29:7 “The Lord is my strength, my shield from every danger. I trust Him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.“