April marks the beginning of Spring, the Passover, and the celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ—it signals a time of renewal and refreshing in the natural as well as in the Spiritual. For me, Spring 2021 takes on special significance because of the trouble and the trauma we have endured individually and collectively as a nation and as the body of Christ.
Recently, I was listening to an interesting conversation between several prominent politicians, pastors, and thought leaders about the state of Black America, the church, and politics during these trying times. At one point in the conversation the moderator raised the question, “With all that has happened over the past year, how do we process the pain and suffering we’ve endured and still come out triumphant?” One of the panelists, Dr. Vashti McKenzie responded, “First, we need to recognize the difference between trouble and trauma. Trouble is viewed as a temporary inconvenience. You know the saying, ‘trouble don’t last always.’ Trauma, on the other hand, lingers and has lasting impact; it alters everything we think, feel and do. And as a result, our regular routines and ways of handling things is disrupted. So, we need to get back to basics and get our joy back!”
When the pandemic first hit in March 2020, it knocked many of us off our square. Truth be told, initially, many viewed COVID as a minor inconvenience that would only last a few weeks. Some people even welcomed the shutdown as an opportunity to take a well-deserved break from the hustle and bustle of life for a few weeks. That is until a temporary inconvenience (i.e., trouble) intended to last for a few weeks turned into trauma, and here we are a year later STILL dealing with the fallout. COVID is still a thing; many have lost loved ones, the economy is still shaky, and the church house is still on lockdown. So, how do we get our joy back? I would encourage you today to look to the Cross!
Over the past year, we have all experienced trauma at some level in ways that have influenced our belief system, emotions, and responses to God and others. However, no greater trauma was endured than that of Jesus when He suffered, bled, and died on the Cross. Think about it, on Palm Sunday Jesus rode into town to the praises and adoration of the people and a week later the same people who shouted Hosanna, were shouting ‘crucify Him.’ Yet in the end, Jesus was triumphant in that He conquered death, hell and the grave and rose again to sit at the right hand of the Father making intercession for US! If nothing else, Jesus’ triumphal journey teaches us that after all the trouble, trauma and sacrifice He endured, we can enter the rest of faith because of His final sacrifice. Jesus Christ is God’s remedy for our sin, and we should be encouraged by holding on to our faith in the midst of trouble and trauma. “But our High Priest offered himself to God as a single sacrifice for sins, good for all time. Then he sat down in the place of honor at God’s right hand.” (Hebrews 10:12).
It’s one thing to say be encouraged and hold on to your faith, but how do we get our joy back? This year has been filled with trouble and trauma, but guess what? REJOICE! Why? You’re still here! You are alive! You made it! Recognize that God has kept you in the midst of trouble and trauma and now is the time to transform and to celebrate Christ’s victory in you! Remember the words of the Apostle Paul in Philippians 4:4-8,
Celebrate God all day, every day. I mean, revel in him…. Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life…filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies. (The Message Bible)
Jesus died so you don’t have to! You are an OVERCOMER and your TURNAROUND is guaranteed! So REJOICE!