We’ve heard the word “contagious” more times than we can count in the past few weeks. We all know that COVID-19 is easily spread from one person to another, so we wear masks to prevent droplets from escaping our mouths. We wash our hands multiple times a day. We wear gloves at the gas pumps. And we maintain appropriate social distancing rules even if our regions are beginning to open up. We do all these things because the disease is easily passed from one person to another.
COVID-19 isn’t the only negative thing that’s contagious. Fear spreads easily, too. During this time of media saturation, we read or hear the news that scares us, and we tell others about it. Trouble is, the news might not be accurate, or we hear only part of it and assume the rest. Nonetheless, we pass it on to others believing it’s fact, and fear grows.
So I’ve been thinking…
If COVID-19 and all things negative surrounding it can spread easily, then why not reframe the word “contagious” and spread something positive instead? How about spreading contagious joy? Doing so means we must be infected with it first.
At a time like this, joy is a choice we make. James 1:2-4 says, “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.”
COVID-19 has brought troubles of every kind to our world. The weight of this hit me full force on the weekend when I learned that my hometown is now the virus hotspot for its province. My elderly mother still lives there. So do my brother and his entire family. His youngest daughter, the mother of three young children, is a nurse.
Troubles we’d never anticipated have hit our entire world. We can let those troubles terrorize us, keep us awake at night, drive us to drink (liquor stores are doing a booming business now) or push us into a pit of despair. Or—we can do what Scripture says and look at those troubles with different eyes.
We can choose to view this very strange time with joy. Great joy. This doesn’t happen naturally when we don’t know how we’re going to pay the bills, or when we can’t be with a loved one who’s deathly ill, or when homeschooling the kids is pushing us to the brink. It happens only when we allow God to transform our thinking (Romans 12:2). Instead of focusing on the what-ifs, we focus on Truth.
The truth is—yes, there’s a worldwide pandemic going on but…
- God is with us.
- God is in control.
- God is our provider.
- God loves us.
- God will be faithful. Always.
Keeping our focus on the truth about God helps us rise above fear. And keeping our focus on the truth of James 1:2-4 helps us understand that our pain has a purpose. Hardship and suffering build endurance into our character. We grow stronger, deeper, more mature in our faith. We move from the darkness of despair into the light of hope.
Choosing joy amidst the most difficult circumstances benefits us and blesses others. Our attitudes, words, and actions no longer breed fear. Now they speak encouragement and spark hope. With a smile, an encouraging email, a handwritten note, or a listening ear, we spread joy to those who feel lonely or at a loss.
Imagine how different our world might look if everyone spread contagious joy during this time. What’s one action you can take to start a “Contagious Joy” movement in your home, neighborhood, and beyond?
#ContagiousJoy #bgbg2 #Joy