Many people think that 2020 was a really bad year, and they are hoping that 2021 will turn out to be a better year.
COVID-19 has affected our community, the nation, and the world in ways that no one expected. Many have lost loved ones; jobs have been removed; businesses are suffering and relationships are struggling with the separation and isolation as we deal with disconnection from friends and family. We have been facing trials, troubles and tribulations.
Jesus has something to say about having troubles in life. He said, “In this world you will have tribulation (trouble involving direct suffering). But take courage; I have overcome the world (John 16:33 NASB).”
Jesus was and is saying that we should expect things to go wrong in life, but they will not be greater than what He can handle. The world is fallen and broken, and it’s normal to get hurt in a place where everything is broken. Jesus has created a new kingdom that is not of this world. This is the place to be. When you belong to God’s kingdom, you can keep your joy even if things go wrong in the fallen world.
Joy is so important to living life well. When we have a joyful attitude toward life, we can have courage to overcome the challenges we face. Joy is a deep feeling. It comes from having a foundation that is secure and unshakeable. A relationship with Jesus, which brings you into the kingdom of heaven, provides that kind of rock-solid foundation, resulting in joy.
This year will hopefully have less challenges than last year, but we know that things are still going to go wrong. We need courage to deal with those challenges. The best place I know to find the courage is in the joy that is in knowing Jesus and being a part of his unshakeable kingdom.
It is easy to get caught up in negative emotions in the middle of troubles and the problems of life. But they do not produce good results. Usually, when we act on our negative emotions, we only add to the problem. Controlling negative emotions is less difficult when we are filled with joy. I encourage you to overcome in 2021. Live life founded on a rock with unshakeable joy and hope.
I am praying that 2021 will be the best year of your life so far.
Dr. Bob “Doc” Swanger is the lead pastor of the River Church in a Barn in Delaware. He has a doctorate in Apologetics. Learn more about Doc at www.RiverBarn.org.