It’s been a week of mixed weather in England. While sunshine has occasionally peeked out from behind the clouds, there have been long stretches of grey skies coloring the air in varying degrees of dark shades. I was walking Jack through a period of such grey when I met someone who called out, “It’s a gloomy one, isn’t it.”
I smiled and nodded my head in agreement. Looking up at the sky I hoped to see a patch of blue offering some hope that the sun would soon shine. Instead, the sky began to drop water on my face, sprinkles at first, and then a torrent! Jack and I dashed for cover beneath a tree that still held on to enough autumn leaves to offer shelter for a short time.
It was then that Jeremiah 29:11 shot into my thoughts. I know the verse and recited it to myself, “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.'” I was wondering why that verse suddenly came to mind when the rain slacked. Jack and I took the moment to dash for the car and home.
While we were drying off the verse came to mind again. I was compelled to look up the verse and read further. It was the next two verses that jumped at me. In particular, verse 14 tells us, “I will be found by you,” says the Lord. “I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes.”
We can all fall captive to the same spiritual gloom that the day’s weather was giving. Often such gloom comes in the form of disappointment from something happening in our personal worlds, like sickness, financial worry, and emotional distress. The treasures of joy we once reveled in has faded away. In disappointment we have to admit that we are rich in the doldrums while being poor in the joy of the Lord.
What can we do? First, I have come to learn that doing nothing cannot be a option to restoring joy. Doing nothing never works. Doing nothing deepens that sense of despair. Remember the first part of verse 14, “I will be found by you,” says the Lord.” We cannot find something unless we look for it. Jesus told His disciples the same thing in Matthew 7:7 when He said, “Seek and you will find.” Notice it doesn’t say, you might find. It says you will.
How do we find His joy again? Praising and worshipping Him for who He is and for all He has done is a great start. Choosing to focus on Him no matter what is going on in our personal worlds begins to bring calm. Focusing on the gloom only makes us more depressed, but when we choose to focus on Him and everything about Him; well, that will certainly change a cloudy day to hope in our hearts.
“Keep your eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Hebrews 12:2