Have you ever had two wrecks in one day?
I haven’t, but I know someone who has.
That’s just what my week has been like.
Sometimes life can be like a walk through the valley of the shadow of death. You grope around in the darkness. You take a few steps safely. Then suddenly a hidden projectile crashes into your skull.
It’s hard to laugh when you’re bruised and beaten. It’s hard to smile when your heart feels like the anchor of the Titanic is weighing it down. It’s hard to be happy when failure stares you in the face and says, “You’re a complete loser.”
So how do you find joy in times like that?
If you’re a Christian, remember the Gospel.
There are three ways you can apply the Gospel when life hands you lemons without sugar and water.
The first way the Gospel brings joy is that in Christ, you are no longer defined by your failures.
It doesn’t matter what you’ve done. King David committed adultery and murder. Yet God called him a man after His own heart. Moses resisted God’s call to lead his people out of Egypt by telling God he couldn’t talk. In spite of this, God spoke to Moses face to face. Jacob was a bigamist, a manipulator, and a habitual liar. Yet God promised to use his family line to bring Jesus into the world.
So there’s hope for you, right?
The second way the Gospel brings joy is that in Christ you’re no longer condemned.
Scripture tells us we’ve all broken God’s law. It also reveals that the penalty for such violations is death. But if you stop there you’re in big trouble.
Jesus suffered, died, and endured isolation from His Father so you wouldn’t have to. Though it hurts now, it’s nothing compared to eternal torment. Even in your darkest hour, God is still there, still listening, still standing with you.
The third way the Gospel brings joy is that in Christ, any pain you experience is far less than you deserve.
That may be hard to swallow when you feel like you’re in quicksand up to your neck and you’re about to choke. Remember this. If God found you, and you responded to His call, you’ve avoided the worst pain imaginable. Anything you experience here, no matter how heinous, is far less than living with no grace at all from a God who could destroy you with a word.
Grace means that the God who would rightly judge you and punish you, chose to do that to Jesus instead.
Now, Christian, let that bring you joy in your deepest hurt, your darkest night, and your heaviest burden.