enCourage Joy – Part 1

The joyful ones let go of what was to embrace what could be.

Some of the older men wept as they watched the foundation of the new building being laid. These guys had been around to see the splendor of Solomon’s temple, and they must have wondered if the new one would live up to memory. They could remember the good old days before they went into Babylonian captivity.

Yet other people shouted for joy as they watched that day. They were delighted to see the foundation of the new building being laid. They were grateful to be back in Jerusalem, ready to start fresh with renewed hope.

In fact, people in the area “could not discern the noise of the shout of joy from the noise of the weeping” (Ezra 3:13). Two very different reactions were happening. Past and present were being filtered through vastly different life lenses.

We can look around today and see a similar division. Some of us long for our church community, job, family, or even country to be the way it was. We think bringing back the old days will bring back the joy too. Yet others are thriving through change and seem joyful about what lies ahead. These glass-half-full people are the ones who have let go of what was to embrace what could be.

The truth is change brings with it both grief and loss. That’s normal. What’s also true is that joy is available to us today regardless of what we’ve been through or what’s up ahead. We can choose to put our future in God’s hands. We can rest in his provision—physically, relationally, emotionally, spiritually—and let him fill us with joy in his presence (Psalm 16:11).

Let’s pray:

Dear Lord, thank you for being with me through all life’s ups and downs. Thank you for providing and guiding when things are hard and when things are going well. Help me to see circumstances from your perspective. Give me grace to choose joy today. May I be strengthened by your promise to work all things together for good as I follow your purpose for my life (Romans 8:28). In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.