Whenever I look at my grandchildren I am reminded of how different we adults are. These children are full of exuberance, passion and purpose in everything they do. They have a healthy curiousity that leads them to touch, examine- did I say touch? and probe each new object they come across. They greet me in the morning with bright smiles, hugs and cheery good-mornings, while I'm thinking, What's so good about this morning?
But what did Jesus say? "...Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 18:3). Little children have the passion and excitement for life that many of us adults have lost. We have allowed the challenges of life to wear us down, to erase our smiles, to silence our song. Many of us don't even have the energy to fulfill our activities of daily living, making us one of the many depression and anxiety sufferers in the United States today.
What can we do to recapture this joie de vivre, this passion for life? Psalm 118: 24 says, "This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it." What is there to rejoice about, you might say? We live in a world of turmoil and uncertainty that seems to be getting more turbulent daily. However the apostle Paul said, " Rejoice in the Lord alway; and again I say, Rejoice" (Philippians 4:4). In 1 Thessalonians 5:16 he says, "Rejoice evermore."
The apostle Paul was not a man who enjoyed the good things of life. After he became converted, he spent most of his life being flogged, stoned, left for dead and thrown into prison. In fact, he wrote the book of Philippians from his prison cell, and later, just before his martyrdom, he wrote to his spiritual son, Timothy, "Persecutions, afflictions, which come unto me at Antioch at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured; but out of them all the Lord delivered me" (11 Timothy 3:11).
Can we have the attitude of this beloved servant of God? Can we endure all things for the sake of Christ, who endured so much for us? Can we praise Him even when our world is collapsing around us? Can we rejoice when we don't see anything to rejoice about? As difficult as it may seem, it is what God expects of us. Listen to what Jesus said: "In the world you shall have tribulation; but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world" (John 16:33).
Joy is the believer's heritage. When we come to Christ we enter into a new dimension of peace and joy, notwithstanding our present circumstances. If we had been sour, disagreeable and hard to get along with, we should become just the opposite, because we now walk in love and Jesus is love. If we used to worry when our dog caught fleas, we should become lighthearted because Jesus "is our glory and the lifter up of our heads". If we couldn't find peace in our homes, we should have peace because He is our peace.
So if you are a believer and find yourself tormented by depression or worry, turn it over to Jesus and watch Him take it all away. If you are not a believer, why not give your life to Jesus and be amazed at the transformation He will work in you? God bless.