And foreigners who bind themselves to the Lord to minister to him,to love the name of the Lord, and to be his servants, all who keep the Sabbath without desecrating it and who hold fast to my covenant—these I will bring to my holy mountain and give them joy in my house of prayer. Isaiah 56:6-7
These months of Coronavirus lockdowns and limitations have led to varying degrees of modified social gathering, decreased family contact and less human contact than any time in my 55 years on this earth. Certainly, the psychiatrists and social scientists will write about this period of time for decades to come. The scientific themes and research will revolve around isolation, depression, anxiety and the overall physical decline of those who were compromised and the most vulnerable to the novel coronavirus.
There is no question that decreased physical contact and changes in routines and habits can throw all of us off our game. So many have lost their solid hold on the anchor lines of routine, comfort and familiarity. But did our dependence on other people for our happiness and joy make us vulnerable in ways we never expected?
During the last nine months, I’m confident in saying we all have experienced the side effects of these pseudo government-imposed quarantines, confinements and solitude from limited human contact. Not many of us think it has been good for us and others, the social animals amongst us, think it has been the work of the devil himself.
Personally, I have learned some very valuable and lifelong lessons from this pandemic imposed by the changes to our day-to-day lives. Most importantly, my joy is not dependent on those around me and what they bring to the game. My joy comes from within and from above.
Praise the Lord! For he has heard my cry for mercy. The Lord is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. Psalm 28:6-7
While happiness is temporary and fleeting, joy is deep, sustainable and long-lived if based in the promise of God’s plan for lives. Happiness is equivalent to a thread that can bind items together but has little strength under pressure and strain. Joy is a thick, tightly-woven and multistrand rope created to anchor and restrain heavy items like a ship or a barge. When joy is fixed in our soul and anchored to Jesus’s love for us the anguish, the discomfort, and the turmoil we feel during a pandemic doesn’t knock us down to our knees.
Joy is my equalizer that levels the panic and threat level and brings everything back into focus. I am not dependent on other people for my joy and my peace. My anchor rope is fixed to my Father who has promised strength, protection, salvation and joy.
Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full. John 16:24