Jude 1; Ezra 9-10; Psalm 95
A friend of mine recently talked about her child who had given a rundown on all the bad news in the area where she lived. She decided that she needed to stop watching the news with him around. As I write this, the nation is dealing with the terrible news of mass murder in Oregon. The stories are still swirling about and nothing is completely confirmed, but it appears that the shooter targeted my brothers and sisters in Christ.
When I think about that possibility; when I think about the persecution of my brothers and sisters around the world – many dying for their faith, it would be easy to give in to despair. Where is the hope? Where is the joy? “Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.” (Psalm 95:1) As followers of Christ we have a deep, enduring joy in any circumstance because of our relationship with God.
Sometimes that joy comes with tears, as it does now. Sometimes that joy doesn’t show as we deal with horrific circumstances. Joy doesn’t always mean happiness because how happy we are depends on our circumstances. Our joy comes from a deeper, underlying faith that reminds us that no matter how bad circumstances may seem, God is in control. God will find a way to bring peace.
We live in a world marred by sin. We will suffer through tragedies caused by people acting out of their sinful desires. In the midst of the tragedies, though, we have our God, the Rock of our salvation, upholding us and strengthening us. We continue to have joy not because of circumstances created by sin; we continue to have joy because of the presence of God in all circumstances.
Oh most holy God, we have been reminded again of the sinfulness of our world. Speak to us. Comfort us. Give us the ability to see Your presence in a difficult time and let us rejoice in Your presence.