How I'm Fighting for Joy Each Day in a Cynical and Scary World

How I'm Fighting for Joy Each Day in a Cynical and Scary World

How I'm Fighting for Joy Each Day in a Cynical and Scary World

A few years ago I interviewed a well-known Christian person for a blog post I was writing. As we talked on the phone I wrote down everything she said, trying not to miss anything. She talked about many parts of her life, but one in particular stayed with me. She said she walks through the cemetery every day to help her keep life in perspective and help her remember the true meaning of life. When she said this I felt like I had met my soul sister. I, too, find comfort in hanging out in cemeteries. I don't admit that to people because it's a bit morose, but it's true.

I am quite melancholic like the woman I interviewed, which means that generally I do not find fear in death, but instead I find great relief. With that said, what you're about to read may not be what you expect. And if you do not share a melancholic temperament or personality (I'm a four on the Enneagram, by the way), you may struggle with relating to my words. However, keeping my mind planted on the end and, more importantly, on eternity is truthfully how I find joy in a cynical and scary world.

Photo Credit: Unsplash/Leon Ell

1. Eternity is Set Firmly in My Heart

1. Eternity is Set Firmly in My Heart

What is fascinating about human nature is that all of us are in search for more. Dissatisfaction encompasses everyone regardless of to whom we attribute that longing. As Christians, we, of course, attribute it to God. We pine for more because more awaits. We're dissatisfied because we recognize that this is not our home. Hebrews 13:14 (NLT) tells us, "For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come" and 1 Peter 2:11 refers to us as "foreigners and exiles."

Just like I look forward to going home at the end of a marvelous vacation, I also look forward to going home to heaven. This is part of having an eternal perspective. Even though I feel sad knowing the happy parts of life will end, knowing that  heaven is infinitely better makes me relieved and filled with much joy.

"Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. So I concluded there is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can. And people should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor, for these are gifts from God" (Ecclesiastes 3:11-13).

Photo Credit: Unsplash

2. I Realize It Will Get Worse Before It Gets Better

2. I Realize It Will Get Worse Before It Gets Better

It's hard to turn on the news without feeling the weight of this fallen world. Just when I think the world can't get any worse, I learn about a new grotesque event or action. Mostly, I'm shocked. How can people do such acts? How is there this much dysfunction? How bad can sin really get?

My default is hopelessness. I sink into a pit of thinking life is too awful for my children to bear when they're grown. I even wonder if it's wise to have more children under such oppressive circumstances. This is when the enemy gets me where he wants me. What more could he want than for Christians to feel hopeless and no longer reproduce?

Photo Credit: Unsplash/Julian Villella

"Joy comes with knowing that as this world gets worse, Jesus gets closer."

"Joy comes with knowing that as this world gets worse, Jesus gets closer."

However, God told us quite plainly through the Apostle Paul in 2 Timothy 3:1, "But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days." Paul then expands further, "People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people" (2 Timothy 3:2-5).

Because of Paul's words I've come to anticipate a decline in morality in our culture. It brings me joy knowing that the Bible is true and life is playing out just as God told us it would. Joy comes with knowing that as this world gets worse, Jesus gets closer. His return becomes more imminent.

Photo Credit: Unsplash

3. I Know There Will Be Justice

3. I Know There Will Be Justice

Often it seems as though there's no retribution for the heinous sin in this world. It's so bad we wonder if God even sees or cares. We wonder why He doesn't just make it stop. I have to remind myself that God is a just God (Isaiah 30:18; Isaiah 61:8) and in the end, all darkness will be revealed and dealt with. Job 12:22 (NIV) tells us, "He reveals the deep things of darkness and brings utter darkness into the light." But even with reminding myself of this, it sometimes is no easier to accept.

The key to God's justice is that we may not see it in our time, and He may not carry it out in the way we think He should. This makes believing in justice difficult. It's much easier, and much more fun if I'm being honest, to take justice into our own hands. We like the feeling of vindication. But justice is not for us to create. Instead, we're told to "turn the other cheek" (Matthew 5:39) and wait for God to carry out His plan for justice.

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

"There is hope for all of us because of His blood."

"There is hope for all of us because of His blood."

"After this, I heard what sounded like a vast crowd in heaven shouting, “Praise the Lord! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God. His judgments are true and just. He has punished the great prostitute who corrupted the earth with her immorality. He has avenged the murder of his servants" (Revelation 19:1-2).

With that said, when I'm tempted to seek retribution for injustice in this world, it helps to remember my own sin and the justice I deserve. Without the blood of Jesus covering me, I, too, would qualify for God's wrath. There is joy knowing that I have a Savior who has already paid my sin and that same Savior is the Savior for everyone on this earth who accepts Him. There is hope for all of us because of His blood.

Photo Credit: Unsplash

4. I Anticipate Jesus' Return

4. I Anticipate Jesus' Return

When I was younger I didn't want Jesus to come back in my lifetime. Life held too much of what I wanted to do. However, as I've gotten older and see the weight of sin in this world, I long for His second coming. It brings me joy knowing that we have a Rescuer who is coming to save us from all the heartache around us. Believing Jesus is coming back brings joy because He is our only hope. "Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory" (1 Peter 1:8).

The last words of the Bible are our hope that Jesus is coming soon. "He who testifies to these things says, 'Surely I am coming soon.' Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!" (Revelation 22:20). "Come, Lord Jesus" is a prayer I pray often. 

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

"Having an eternal mindset is how I find joy in this cynical, scary world."

"Having an eternal mindset is how I find joy in this cynical, scary world."

Without death, there is no end to the madness on this earth. However, for a follower of Jesus, death is only for the flesh we touch. We are already a part of our eternal lives as our souls will live forever after our physical bodies die. For some the thought of death and eternity brings heartache. Who wants to think about such things? But for me, the knowledge that more is coming brings great relief. Having an eternal mindset is how I find joy in this cynical, scary world.

Brenda Rodgers considers herself a “recovering single” after years as a single woman chasing after marriage instead of chasing after Jesus. Now her passion is to mentor young women to live purposefully and grow in their relationship with God and others. Brenda has been married for five years to a heart transplant hero and is the mom of a toddler girl miracle. She is also the author of the eBook Fall for Him: 25 Challenges from a Recovering Single. You can also read more on Brenda’s blog, www.TripleBraidedLife.com and follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

Photo Credit: Unsplash/Jake Givens