by Leslie Ann Jones September 02, 2021
A few nights ago, Dennis and I were talking about how unbearably heavy the days have been lately. We live in Mississippi, and our state has recently topped the world in Covid infections. Samaritan's Purse has set up emergency field hospitals and ICU beds in parking garages. Entire classes of elementary age children have been sent home for outbreaks in local schools, and our beloved pastor has been in the hospital for some issues that the doctors just can't quite figure out.
And that's barely scratching the surface.
Hurricane Ida ransacked our neighbors to the west, wildfires are tearing across California, and none of the news coming out of Afghanistan is good (to put it mildly).
As we were discussing all of these things, I told him that I just couldn't bear to look too hard and too long at the wreckage of the past 18 months. I have to take a few steps back and look at it peripherally—out of the corner of my eye—for just a few minutes at a time, or the immensity of the devastation will consume me.
The problems are far too big for me to solve, and I've barely managed to come to terms with one disaster before another one rears up in front of me.
Do you feel the same way?
In Sunday school, we just wrapped up a study on Ecclesiastes, which talks a lot about the hard and painful parts of life right alongside the good and beautiful. You can be wracked with grief and overcome with joy at the very same time, heartbroken by life while choosing to praise God anyway.
Joy and sorrow balance one another out, and they often exist side by side.
Laughing through tears is a real thing, and choosing to look for the good in the midst of the hard isn't denial. It's not burying your head in the sand or ignoring the very real problems in our world. It's a necessary and healthy coping mechanism.
Because sometimes the very thing our souls most need is to stop in the middle of the brokenness and dwell on a thing of beauty. To be reminded that for all that is wrong and broken in the world, there is also beauty and light and life.
May we forever be the ones who are pointing to the light. Showing the way to the mercy of our Savior, who has not abandoned us but is right here with us in the midst of the mess.
The problems are too big for me, but they're not too big for him. His shoulders were made to bear the unbearable burden of this world's brokenness. "Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows," says Isaiah. And he has. Every last one of them.
If that's not a good and beautiful thing, then I don't know what is.
"In this world, you will have trouble," Jesus said. "But take heart. I have overcome the world." (John 16:33)
So share the beauty. Make much of the good. Shine your light. And point to Jesus. It's what you were made for.
🙌🏻 Leslie Ann
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by Leslie Ann Jones December 02, 2021
These days are wildly busy, and it's easy to be overwhelmed by all the holiday parties and shopping lists and special programs and Christmas parades and seasonal decorating and gift giving that fills up our days. Decide now (before things get crazy) to make this season a joyous one. Embrace the wonder. Marvel in the mystery. Repeat the sounding joy.
by Leslie Ann Jones November 04, 2021
by Leslie Ann Jones October 07, 2021
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