Choosing Joy in the Midst of Sorrow
By: Andrew Adams
I have cherished every second that I have been able to work alongside our seniors in our Vintage Ministry. Through Vintage, I have been able to meet some of the best people and hear the most amazing stories of their beautiful lives blended with past history. These people have been through the ups and downs of life, time and time again. I have learned to cherish them and the moments I have with them and do my best to soak up all the wisdom they so generously share with me. They truly have become some of my best friends, mentors, and inspirations in my life.
Working with this age group also comes with some challenges as health problems often ensue and some of my dear friends have graduated from this life into glory! Someone said to me recently, “I don’t know how you stay so happy and joyful when you are constantly experiencing loss and tragedy. How do you stay upbeat and positive when you get the news that one of your friends has been diagnosed with stage four cancer? How do you still smile when you have lost two friends to Covid in the last two weeks?” As I processed these questions, I realized it has been quite a journey to get to this point of choosing joy through times of sorrow. Grief is a process that oftentimes you can’t control, and you have to give yourself grace to get through it.
The great news is that you are never alone, and the Lord promises that He is “close to the broken hearted” (Psalm 34:18). He is right by your side as you process and feel it all, and at the end of the day it is so important to give Him all the weight and heaviness that you are holding onto… “For His yoke is easy and His burden is light” (Matthew 11:30). Something that may be crushing you in weight and heaviness is not difficult for our God to carry for you. The question is: Are you willing to let go and give it up to Him? It is our human nature to want to hold onto things and stay in control, but often you will not see change until you release your problems and give it all to God! Someone once said, “If you choose to hold onto the weight and heaviness, that shows you are putting your faith in yourself instead of God.” This hit me like a ton of bricks, and I had to ask myself: Where does your faith lie? Do you trust God enough to give Him your burdens?
This has been a process I have had to learn and is never easy to be honest. However, I’ve learned that part of choosing joy depends on my perspective! Knowing that God is in control and that He has a plan for each of our lives brings me a peace that transcends all understanding. Yes, losing someone you love is hard, but you are still here! The Lord woke you up and put breath in your lungs today. He has a purpose for your life and is literally guiding each step you take (Proverbs 16:9). Walking with people as they go through different struggles and times of uncertainty has helped grow my faith. It has brought me to a place of knowing that we serve a God who is mighty to save and that His will is above ours. It also brings me comfort knowing we have salvation through Jesus and that we will be able to see our departed loved ones again in heaven. Waking up knowing these things helps me to stay joyful. I also know that those who have graduated from this life would want us to be living our best lives and continue to carry joy in our hearts. I do my best to daily honor those I have lost by living joyfully and looking for ways to make a difference in order to impact this world for the better in Jesus’ mighty name. I try to carry on the legacy of those who have left us by imitating their lives of service, kindness, love, and dedication—in all things, striving to be like Jesus.
These are all things that remind me to choose joy, but ultimately, my joy comes from the Lord! I know wholeheartedly that if you keep your eyes on Him, He will always see you through the struggle you’re facing and will continue to fill your cup to the brim so that you can pour it out to others! Knowing He is in control gives me a peace and a confidence in each step I take and a joy that will not and cannot be contained.
I pray you choose joy the next time trouble shows itself to you. There is always joy when you know God is in control and that He is able to redeem even the difficult and sorrowful moments in life. Walk boldly and confidently knowing Jesus is beside you! He loves you mightily and wants to see you live your life to the fullest potential. Choose a life of joy, and with that you will find a life with purpose. Take His joy into this world of darkness and watch people literally run to get a piece of it! You don’t have to always have the right words to say, but sharing His love and joy can truly transform someone’s life.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13).
Andrew Adams is the Vintage Ministry and Print Shop Coordinator. He is also a loving father to his 3 kids and husband to his wife, Hannah.