It’s a strange thing about joy—we might think joy only comes when our troubles are over. But in our fallen world, joy and troubles exist side by side. In fact, there is really no way to separate them. Our lives are a constant balance of joy and troubles as we walk through the experiences of life. It is often the trouble or struggle that magnifies the intensity of joy. And it’s here in this dichotomy that the message of the angel Gabriel is for us as well: Do not be afraid! Do not be afraid! The psalmist wrote “Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” (Psalm 42:5) What circumstances in your life are causing you fear? What do you feel afraid of? Where are the troubles of life seeming to overshadow the presence of joy? What feels like it is spinning out of control?
I sometimes feel afraid. When the Finance Committee is having a very, very hard time coming up with a workable budget and we already have a deficit, that is very troubling, very worrisome. My soul is disturbed like this verse says. I can even feel discouraged by the reality of that. I don’t want to deny our troubles or sweep them under the rug. And yet, at the same time, I don’t want to fixate on them to the detriment of all the good things God is doing and wants to do here. I don’t want present reality to overwhelm and trouble me so much that I lose my joy. If there is a mountain to climb, we must go climb it! Our God is able to overcome all things, even what looks impossible. The angel’s message is for us is: Do not be afraid. You don’t have to fear. Our God is in the house! There is good news of great joy.And it is for you! Pastor Randy