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Wonderment of Joy

Wonderment of Joy

I sometimes forget that life was worry-free at one point. I recently posted a photo on my social media page of me at 7 years old showing off the boots that I’d begged Santa for. I couldn’t believe he knew my size and even got me the exact pair I’d asked for! I posted the photo because I’ve been sentimental lately. It reminded me of my childlike innocence and the joy and excitement of Christmas morning surprises. And in my naivety, I really thought that if I lived right and made good choices that somehow the sorrows of life wouldn’t happen to me. But, the reality is….

In this world, you will have trouble. John 16:33

And then life happened. Abrupt moves from house to house. Financial struggles. Divorce. Single parenting 4 kids. Illnesses and deaths of siblings. Mourning about choices my children made. Car wrecks. The reality of having aging parents. Covid-19. The death of pets. On and on I could go…..

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! James 1:2-4

How do I process the weightiness of life so that it doesn’t make me sink into despair? How do I choose joy at my lowest? How does my faith stand the test, allowing my endurance to fully develop?

I read this quote a few years ago, and it stuck with me: “The only thing more tragic than the things that have happened to us is what we’ve done with them.” I must continually remind myself that suffering doesn’t invalidate God’s faithfulness; suffering is where we experience God’s faithfulness! 

And then there’s this quote from a church sign that got to me: “The worse thing that happens to you can be the best thing that happens to you if you don’t let it get the best of you.”

When messy, seemingly unbearable situations come my way, will I choose to be empowered or enraged? Suppose I decide to be enraged and continually ponder on my circumstances and the injustices of my life. In that case, there’s not going to be joy. On the other hand, if I choose to be empowered by my circumstances, asking God to point out the treasure in each day and to find the good in each situation, it totally changes my mindset. So I WILL choose joy and laughter!

….the fruit of the Spirit is joy! Ephesians 5:22

Stasi Eldredge says, “The experience of sorrow in no way diminishes the joy of living. Sorrow actually enhances living because a heart awakened to sorrow is more aware, more present, and more alive to all the facets of life”. Joy can come in the middle of my mess if I allow it to.

Joy is an attribute of God and is connected to Shalom, peace. It is received by being faithful to Jesus, trusting His sovereignty and His goodness. And He’s faithful back! I like how Alicia Britt Chole states this point: “The faithfulness of God doesn’t exist to keep us free from pain but to keep us focused on the path toward heaven”. 

1st Timothy 6:6, “godliness with contentment is great joy!” 

I’ve found that the best way to be joyful is to choose to have an attitude of gratitude. Joy is contagious, just like laughter, and gratitude has helped me fall in love with the life I already have! Every day can be like Christmas morning, filled with excitement because of the wonderment of my salvation in Jesus. My Father is sovereign and kind, and He gives the good gift of joy….just like Santa gave me the good gift of boots on that Christmas day, but better.

By Dana Chavers

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