by Mi Yung Park
Sophia is the Greek word for Wisdom, and Propel Sophia seeks out the voices of truly wise women and asks them to share worked examples of how they express faith in daily life. Pull up a chair at Sophia’s table, won’t you? There’s plenty of space. Learn more here >
I’m the type of person who seeks truth – in the most objective form possible. Having practiced law for almost twenty years, I am trained to seek the truth of a given situation above what I want to see or hear. How can we positively impact a situation, if we cannot clearly discern the truth of that situation, or ourselves? Hard truths are preferable to comfortable fiction. So, if my bank account is overdrawn, shouting aloud “I AM RICH!!!” in order to stay positive never quite appealed to me.
The challenge I have found is when the truth of the situation seems to demand for hopelessness, fear, anxiety, anger – when the glass is objectively more than half empty, am I to have joy as the Bible states? God’s Word is after all timeless and true, and we are called to “[r]ejoice always, pray continually, [and] give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV). So, does this mean that after I’ve been diagnosed with a terminal disease, experience betrayal of the most intimate type, lose my job – I can still find joy? If I allow myself to actually experience joy, am I then in denial of the truth of my circumstances?
Then Holy Spirit illuminated my mind. I was evaluating my circumstances by the tangible, by the weakness and frailty of this finite human body, by the emotions and undependability of man. If I were not a follower of Christ, then it would only be logical to evaluate things with the harshness of this seen world. But IF I believe that God is Real, IF I believe that Christ died to reconcile me to my Father, and IF I believe that the Spirit of God was left as the present-day inheritance to all who accepted Him, then logic demands that I consider all these things before rendering a verdict on my situation.
As a litigator, I’ve been in the courtroom countless times where the decision which seals a person’s fate is made only after consideration of all the evidence. Indeed, after one party initially presents a case, the evidence only favors one side. However, when the other side presents its case, the initial perception shifts. Only then can a judgment be rendered.
This same principle can be applied in our own lives. We cannot judge our circumstances solely on the natural seen world, filled with its pain and disappointments. We must also include the evidence presented by the unseen world. So then, what is the truth of this unseen and yet true world?
Well, we are told that we will have trouble in this world. It is not a possibility, but according to the Word of God, a certainty. Yet God’s Word commands us to “take heart!” because He has overcome the troubles of this world (John 16:33). What does this mean in the midst of the current global crisis, when news only seems to go from bad to worse? Did God know this was to happen? What are we to do? We are told to be still – and to know that He is God (Psalm 46:10). In this stillness, we are transformed. In the face of the world’s tribulations, a higher truth of the higher One who is greater than the one in this world (1 John 4:4), and the supernatural peace of the Holy Spirit guards our hearts and minds. (Philippians 4:6-7).
As we look to the Word, we are promised that no one can be truly against us (Romans 8:31), we will have supernatural peace (John 14:27), that no weapon formed against us shall prosper (Isaiah 54:17). The truth of these promises exposes the layer of the unseen world that we are coexisting within the seen world. Suddenly, there is hope and a reason for joy.
Living with joy is not living in ignorance of the difficulties you are experiencing now. It does not take away the hardship or challenges. But as believers, we have an undeniable, truthful hope that God is able to “do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us” (Eph. 3:2). To judge our situation or ourselves on the seen world – is to render a review on a book that is half-read, or a meal by one dish. We must acknowledge the truth and power of the unseen world – the angels surrounding us and rooting for us to finish this race to which our Father has called us, as well as the great cloud of witnesses (Hebrews 12:1-3).
As we ask ourselves whether our circumstances warrant joy, we consider it was “[f]or the joy set before him [Jesus] endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2). There was a higher, deeper, and eternal joy that outweighed the difficulties of the cross.
Every day, we need to consider our own situations in light of the freedom, authority, and ultimate truth of the unseen spiritual world. And when you consider ALL the evidence composed of both in the seen and unseen world there will only be one conclusion that can be reasonably reached: We have every reason to have joy. The choice is ours.
Mi Yung Park is A21's Government Relations Director. She has over a decade of experience working as a federal criminal prosecutor, including as a Senior Trial Attorney at the Child Exploitation & Obscenity Section in the Criminal Division at the U.S. Department of Justice. Find out more here.