Life is hard. Everyone I know is battling in some way. Sickness. Depression. Finances. Relationship problems.
It’s so easy to let those become our focus. Our hardship becomes the motivator and decision maker in our lives. And discouragement follows closely.
But. But, God. God is bigger than any problem we have. And I don’t mean that in a gentle, sweet, pat-you-on-the-head, patronizing kind of way. I mean, we have a choice. Every single day, we get to choose if the hard stuff will get the bulk of our attention and energy or if God will be our focus. Every day, we get to choose if we will laugh or cry. Or, as a sweet, encouraging friend put it, every day, we have the opportunity to “choose joy.”
You may be reading this, wondering how to do that or why it even matters. Nehemiah 8:10 says that the joy of The Lord is our strength. That’s your why. We need strength! The Bible tells us repeatedly to rejoice….to joy again. (Psalm 32:11, 118:24, Philippians 3:1, 4:4 are just a few places we see that command.). Galatians 5:22-23 says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” See, there’s the how. Joy is part of the fruit shown in our lives when we’re plugged into God. We can’t do it alone. It comes from Him who then uses it for our good. (I love how good our God is!).
When we choose joy, we can honestly say, “we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing.” (2 Corinthians 4:8). When we choose joy, it will be multiplied for us. Luke 6:38 says, “Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.” I believe that verse refers to anything you give, including joy. When we choose joy, we are giving God the glory for our lives and taking power away from the enemy. When we choose joy, we are showing non-believers that there’s more to this Christianity thing than a list of rules. When we choose joy, the other fruit of the spirit will be in evidence also.
As Keith and I have started to come to grips with the fact that his brain simply isn’t what it should be, we have found many things to laugh about. In the face of a heartbreaking disease, we have decided to make the most of every moment, to live life at its fullest and to laugh – a lot! We have decided to focus on God and His goodness and to point others to Him. This doesn’t mean there aren’t times that the grief overwhelms us. It means we won’t allow the grief to rob us of our strength, our joy. We have decided to choose joy. And we hope you’ll join us.
Be blessed and tell someone you love them.