Times have been tough for many people these past few months. From self-inflicted problems to family difficulties, from loss of jobs to cut-backs, from illness to death, everyone is affected by tough times in some way, even if simply by not getting a pay rise. It is very easy to only see problems ahead.
And yet Jesus tells us that if we obey his commands we will remain in his love and his joy will be in us and our joy may be complete. So is it really as easy as that?
Can we have an inner joy even if all around us is confusion, hurt, and uncertainty? I believe we can, because Jesus has said so – but that does not mean it is easy. As we leave the Easter Season behind it is vital that we never forget the wonder of Jesus the Son of God, coming to earth and giving his life that we might live forever. Because it is only when we grasp for ourselves the enormity of the sacrifice that Jesus made for us, can we begin to realise how much we are loved by our Saviour. And when we realise how much we are loved, we can obey his commands and show his love to those around us. And when we show his love, his joy his inner peace and serenity can dwell in us and see us through the hard times.
Inner joy and peace ultimately comes from the knowledge that nothing can separate us from the love of God except ourselves. It comes from the hope we have that life does not end with our death, but actually death means going home and beginning true life with our Saviour in paradise. So if you are in despair or struggling at this time, take hope. You are not alone and Jesus really does understand what it is to suffer. Try and see beyond the here and now to an eternity worshipping the one true God. But also seek help from the family of God, the Church. Jesus commands us to love one another and when one hurts we all hurt.
May we all learn to submit to our God, accept his love and allow his Spirit to give us an inner peace that passes all understanding. And when we can do that, the sun will shine every day, even if the clouds hide it for a while!