If I could start off by saying anything, I think we as believers in Christ need to learn the art of letting each other be where we are in our walk with God. None are necessarily better than the other. Wherever Father leads us, that's where we need to be.
Which is why I am finding it necessary to shed some light on a trend I've been noticing lately in some circles of Christendom. Where it's cool to laugh over prayer and "hip" to smile about everything. Mr. Jesus took care of everything, so not a care in the world and if you don't feel like they do, you need deliverance. I'm going to call this Christian Nirvana.
Okay, I feel you, let's all just get happy! There really are no reasons to worry about anything. After all, Yeshua Himself said "be anxious for nothing." Paul wrote "cast all your care upon Him for He cares for you." The Psalms are filled with commands to rejoice in the Lord. David even commands his soul "hope in God." Faith is confidence in God, and without faith it's impossible to please Him.
I mean - after we get our ticket to Heavenland because we said a prayer or got dipped in water and now we can spend our lives bouncing around and laughing all day with our two cars, suburban house, 2 kids we planned for...and oh a puppy! I mean if our son got beat half to death for being Christian we could call it a hate crime and get justice. Justice! Yea! So all we have to do is keep singing and dancing around, smiling, with our bellies full, until we die. And then, guess what?? We get to have even more fun in Heavenland! Forever! Yeahhhhhhhh!!! That's just narley-cool-da bomb-fi.
Let me get real with you. Yes, no matter the circumstance we are taught by the scriptures and Holy Spirit to keep our hope, our joy, our kindness, our gentleness, our faith and our patience through it all. However, I think we present these fruits of the Spirit wrong. We act as if that means we constantly walk in kindness, gentleness, joy, faith, love, etc. We put pressure on ourselves to "be" some kind of stress-free persona. I realized though, we're talking about fruit, and when you eat fruit, it gets processed through your digestive system, the nutrients are then absorbed into your bloodstream and cells. The benefits of that fruit you ate (i.e. Vitamin C) then has it affect on the body...the Body...get it? Do you think you just eat an orange once and boom! You're set for life? No. This will make more sense later, but my point is, the fruit of the Spirit are always there when we need them but the effect they provide is not always in operation. We have to choose. We have to continuous consume the fruit.
I was at a meeting where we were discussing the security and joy of the Lord, no matter what's going on in our lives. Trust me, I get. And I need it. I went up to get prayed over. I know I need the joy of the Lord, because I have been waiting for my flood of happiness, love, romance, companionship, and intimacy. I've been waiting in righteousness too. I'm a rare jewel. I know Yeshua has me, I know He's got great plans for me, but I still hurt. I still feel the sting of loneliness. Yes, I know not to go by what I see but what He says...I know. I still wish I had a hand to hold, someone to dream and do life with...like a decade ago.
I also have a dear friend who is suffering from bone cancer. She is in chronic pain, and recently broke her leg. Now they are saying she may be losing sight in one of her eyes and the cancer has spread to her brain. She has been fighting and praying for almost 2 years now. Do you look at my friend and say "just be happy?" Do you tell her Jesus took all your sorrows so you have nothing to sorrow over?
Of course you wouldn't. I believe God allows people in our lives that make us uncomfortable. People that love God just like you do but ________(fill in the blank).
When I left bible study God told me this: Desiree, you already have fullness of joy within you whenever you need it. You just don't know you already have it and have used it plenty of times. But it's okay to be sad too. It's okay to hurt.
As I continued to ponder on this, I believe Holy Spirit filled me with this wisdom: Father needs those who are willing to hurt, to be sad, even mad. He needs those who will travail. Who will look at a situation like my friend's, and get horrified, get uncomfortable, and travail and weep for her like it was your own mom, sister, or wife.
See, some of you reading this have everything a man or woman could possible hope for in this life. We get the education, the jobs, the spouse, have the kids, the dog, the house, the 'stuff." Maybe you start the business or ministry to get us to our ideal state. Of course we want for nothing; we make sure we don't. But for those of us who have things that hasn't quite worked out yet...oh that is where the hidden treasure is, the blessing in disguise. That's where those who are uncomfortable in this life get to tap into something amazing...the Holy of Holies.
Yes, it's possible to be victorious and yet feel the sting of what is being lost if we don't seek God's face.
There is a time to have joy, but also to have sorrow.
There is a time to laugh, but also a time to cry and cry hard.
There is a time to just see the good in everything, but there is also a time to open your eyes to the pain and suffering right beside you...and care.
There is a time to be content but then there is a time to get fed up.
There is a time to rest but then there is a time to fight. Not by our own might or power, but by His Spirit.
It's easy for me to have joy in my perfect little life...but there are people like my friend who every night sheds tears over her pain and I'm not okay with that. I am powerless to help her but I know Who can. I know Abba Father has more compassion on her than me. I also know there is purpose in her pain. The purpose is not just for her, its for all of us. It's not personal, it's communal. I don't pretend to know why certain things happen, but I know the Spirit has told me this, it's more about those around that person, than the person themselves. It's to stir us up...to PRAY! To intercede for something other than our own personal needs, as valid as they are.
There are some who are at a place where they just want happiness, peace, and everything is just dandy and I rejoice with those who are in the place! Please know, this is not to get anyone rattled. Its for you to understand that where you are is where you are, thank God, but also remember your brothers and sisters that are not quite there. Maybe they need a shift of perspective or maybe they need you to fast and pray over there concerns like you would your own.
I can choose to have carefree joy and I do! I love my Yeshua! I'm learning more and more to turn to that fruit and devour it, even when I'm feeling the sting of my reality. That Fruit will do its thing every time. However, I also can choose to have sorrow. Sorrow for single believers who are terribly lonely and fight fears and sorrows others cannot imagine. Should I make them feel guilty for not "casting their cares"? Or...
Romans 12:15 - Rejoice with them that rejoice, and weep with them that weep.
Let me put it in modern terminology. Be happy for the new mother or new bride, but hurt and cry like you mean it for those who are infertile or lonely. Don't stop travailing for their blessing, just like you would not for your own.
Yes, let's celebrate the Lord's goodness, pleasures, His salvation and sacrifice for us. Rejoice in His Royal Authority in Heaven and in Earth. Dance and sing before the Lord. But let's also allow ourselves to get angry at the sin running rampant in our cities, and children growing up on the streets. Better yet, let's get discontent. Yes, discontent with the failure of our current expression of Kingdom Culture. So I say let's get happy and let's get sad. Not sad as in hopeless. No, sad that we walk in less power than we should. Sad that good men and women have to wait and wait for the love they dream of. Sad that good people suffer. Sad that our brothers and sisters in other countries are enduring brutalities for their faith, while we endure long plane rides to our next "revival-presence-fire" concert.
So you see, I get it now. It's okay to be content and dissatisfied all at the same time. Those emotions are meant to be there, to drive us to the Secret Place. I think it's a trick of the enemy sometimes to use the idea of contentment in order to stagnant us in a place that is meant to be a bridge, not a resting place for us. Until we get this, we will be happy for a few days or a few weeks but then when feelings of sorrow creep up we will feel guilt and fear instead of embracing it for what it is...a call to the Secret Place.
Solomon said it best - Ecclesiastes 3:4 - A time to weep, and a time to laugh, a time to mourn, and a time to dance.
Psalm 34:17 - The righteous cry, and the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles. Got troubles? Then let's cry together!
Desiree Cummings is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Liturgical Dancer, Fitness Enthusiasts and Foodie that has been impacted by the goodness and love of Jesus. All these things are woven throughout her writings.