This weekend, I served as a counselor at a youth retreat, out of cell service.
I woke up Sunday morning at 8:30am feeling most refreshed. I’d initially worried that I wouldn’t get enough winky-winky because I’d gone to bed late (12:30am), but nope…8 hours of sleep. It felt good and I was happy. (You know you’re coming up on middle age when these are the things you think about.)
Until a little while later, when I overheard that Daylight Savings Time had started that night. I hadn’t heard about it during the prior week, and didn’t see the usual Facebook memes the previous day because we were out of cell service.
So I’d actually slept only 7 hours.
The moment I realized this, I kid you not, I started feeling tired. Over one hour.
And it got me thinking: Our reality determines our thoughts and feelings to a great degree.
When you’re given the news that the tumor is malicious, negative feelings immediately set in and weigh down the heart. This often happens regardless of whether the tumor has a good chance of being removed harmlessly. But if another call follows quickly on the heels of the first, from some panicked intern apologizing that she read the wrong paper and you don’t have cancer after all, your soul floods with relief. Our emotional well-being depends on news.
You can fight this by trying to force our emotions into happier channels, but that’s pushing a boulder up a mountain. Tons of work.
You can try to create better circumstances, and indeed that comprises much of our daily lives and hopes. But it’s not guaranteed.
It’s best to seek joy by believing in the deepest truth: Jesus Christ, and the promise of his love and reward.
If you believe that God seeks oneness with us (John 15), that he runs to the forgiven and celebrates their homecoming (Luke 15), and that a great existence lies before us at the very side of Jesus, then, well, that’s good news. Good news that can tack even the heaviest emotional ship into better winds.
The challenge is to believe in such an unseen thing. The world around us cries out such despair and cynicism. We’re told that what we see is all there is, and that “hope in the unseen” is immature desperation for better things that don’t exist.
Sounds like someone who could use some good news.
I didn’t get as much rest as I wanted this last weekend, but I’m getting a much better rest someday (Hebrews 4:11). Spring is coming. Daylight will finally be saved from all darkness one day.
That’s worth getting excited about.
Lord, help me believe the truth, that it may generate real joy.