Monday, January 2, 2012
JOY, JOY, JOY
For Christmas I was given a book called Choosing Joy, by Angela Thomas. It is a devotional book meant to encourage us through scripture to choose Joy throughout the year. I do not generally use devotional books because I can’t stop at one page of any book. When I read one of Joni Eareckson Tada’s devotional books, I read though each section at one time, rather than one day at a time. I am hopeless when it comes to nibbling God’s Word. I am too hungry for that.
However, today’s opening words struck home with me because she says “the pursuit of joy is a significant adventure.” And so it is and has been in these last few years for me. Choosing Joy, rather than anger; choosing Joy rather than disappointment and bitterness; choosing Joy rather than recognition, because Joy is of the fruit of the Spirit!
When God sat me down and turned me around Love came to fruition in my life. I did not need to pursue it. The Holy Spirit filled me and surrounded me with Love. I was finally free to love and be loved. It was, and still is, a glorious joyful experience. But Joy was harder coming.
For years I was not even happy, let alone Joyful. I found it necessary to seek my God and all that He is on a daily basis and to learn the difference between happiness and Joy. The roller coaster ride has been truly exciting: Struggling with replacing the “old” with the “new;” rising to heights unknown before and slamming back down to the bottom soon after; struggling to find my place in the scheme of things and finding myself of little or no value; passing through three serious health failures and coming out the other side in Joy. It took some serious help from God to find my way and to keep finding Joy as I went.
A friend of mine has recently had to choose Joy in the midst or sorrow. Her beloved uncle was declared dying just before Christmas. She had tickets to go and see him next week. She was momentarily stunned and confused and in great pain. She sent out her feelings to friends she knew would pray for her and the last I heard from her, she was enabled to choose Joy for Christmas and was excited to realize that she could go and visit her aunt with the ticket she had already purchased. They will have a joy filled time remembering the man they both loved so much!
As I look a 2012, I see a daunting year. Why? Because it is a Presidential election year and politics are daunting for me, an anger trigger for sure. Finding Joy in the midst of all the clamor, and keeping my cool will not be easy. I find the whole process so out dated and damaged that I can barely tolerate being a part of it.
But be a part of it I must for it is God’s will that I participate the best I can. As in the last presidential election, I will be repeatedly reminding myself that “God is in control of the Nations.” Psalm 2 and many other passages show us that God knows what is happening and His way will be done in spite of all the maneuvering. If I can’t choose Joy through all this, the least I can do is chose gratitude that He will see the outcome He desires at this time. My job is to sift through the garbage and find a choice and vote, even if I do or do not vote the same way as many of you. But I will pursue Joy with Angela, because life without Joy is miserable. (And I will likely do it by the week, rather than the day.)
May we all find Joy blooming and bearing fruit in our lives in 2012 as we worship the God who is Joy… for the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control… Galatians 5:23