A PATH TO QUIET JOY
My eyes opened to another morning, and, with awareness, the weight of the day ahead rushed in. Day-old dishes waited in the kitchen. Homework was completed in tears the night before. I needed to pull my oldest daughter from bed — now and help her into her local school uniform — again. I coaxed her to eat something while she was still half asleep. And I really ought to summon the energy to arrange to meet a local friend; after all, we were living here to do ministry. Hope and joy seemed a distant memory, but I swung my feet to the floor and moved toward the kitchen anyway.
I knew I wasn’t signing up for something easy when my husband and I joined our missionary team in Central Asia. But God never promised that we would always feel happy, or continuously sense his presence, even if we are living in obedience to him. (Just look at Job, Jeremiah, and Hosea!) However, waking up dreading every day for months that stretch into years isn’t a healthy way to live either. Matthew 11:28-30 tells us that Jesus’ yoke is easy and his burden is light — not because he takes away the hard things (the yoke is still there) but rather because he carries the yoke with us.
It took 10 years and a season away from our regular ministry for me to believe that. Thanks to the determined, loving influence of a wise friend, I started learning to be honest — with myself and with God — about what I felt. Things like making music, regular gatherings for conversation, and Bible study with close friends, exercise (even though I dislike it!) and journaling to pray and identify what I really felt finally placed me on a path to quiet joy in Jesus. Professional medical help may also be needed sometimes and that’s OK! The important thing is to recognize that, even in the hard seasons, God offers peace to replace anxiety and fear. He offers hope for our hopelessness.