The past year has been one of wonderful highs and painful lows. I’ve learnt a lot, been forced to mature a lot and often thought about life being like a crazy rollercoaster.

Despite this, throughout it all I have had constant joy. That’s not to say I’ve always been happy – in fact I’ve often been sad and confused. This time last year I struggled a lot with anxiety, and it was often crippling and scary. But joy isn’t the same as happiness. It is rooted in a confidence that God is good no matter what. It allows you to say, ‘today has been terrible and I don’t have words to talk about it’ but still find a reason to give thanks and smile. My joy has not changed because God does not depend on my circumstances. My emotions and circumstances might feel like a rollercoaster a lot of the time, but God remains constant throughout.  

People sometimes say that faith in Jesus is just a crutch; a nice thought to hold onto when you’re really struggling with life. Jesus isn’t my crutch. He’s my best friend, and yes, yes, he is there for me when life is really hard. Isn’t that what friends do? But he doesn’t just disappear when life is going well. He is the same whether I’m having a great or terrible time. He wants to do life alongside us, and choosing to do life with him was the best decision I’ve ever made or will ever make. 

It’s amazing being able to share the good times with the one who created me and calls me friend, knowing that he loves me and rejoices alongside me. If life is great for you at the moment, Jesus wants to celebrate with you! But we all know that life isn’t always good. It’s so comforting to share the painful times with the one who endured immense pain, knowing that he knows what it means to suffer. In fact, when he died on the cross it was us he was thinking of. He did that saying that a relationship with us was worth it. Jesus can relate to whatever situation you find yourself in because he was human and experienced it all. If life sucks, he wants to meet you in the midst of it and give you hope.

Jesus Christ is the only constant I know, and his unchanging love and grace are glorious regardless of how I feel. He does not depend on my circumstances, the hope he offers is certain, and so my joy is constant. 

Tom Olyott