Deliberately finding Joy
When someone in your family is suffering from a chronic illness it is easy to go down the road of despair, hopelessness, pity parties and depression but what if there was another path to take in the midst of all of that.
As I have walked beside my husband and seen his struggle with Lymphoma that has become aggressive, and having all of the doctors appointments, needles, hospital stays, more needles, tests and hours of waiting, I have become aware of a gift that the Lord has given to me in the midst of all of the gloom.
Joy that has been bubbling up within me when I have no good reason to feel particularly joyful and the companion of the Joy has been Peace. A peace that actually defies all logic.
So how can a person seriously experience these two emotions when the storm of Cancer is literally raging around us? The answer has come slowly to me, but it is something that I have truly learned to be thankful for and hey I have learnt to rejoice in as well.
To answer this question we have to go back to the bible of course and discover the ways that Jesus brought peace to terrified people in the midst of the storms that they were in.
Matthew 8:24 -27
Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!”
In this particular example, the disciples were all in the boat with Jesus, he is having a great sleep because he has had a busy day and a storm comes and threatens the disciples very lives, but because Jesus is there and he is the creator of all things, he tells the wind and the waves to calm down, and at his command they obey. Just like that, this raging storm stops and the sea that they are crossing is as calm as if it was a clear and sunny day.
Jesus reminds them that if they had the faith they too could have told the winds and the rain to stop and it would have obeyed, he asks them this question, “why are you so afraid?” Fear seriously hinders our ability to stand up in faith and tell the storm around us to quiet down. Fear cripples and paralyses us and makes us ineffective and robs us of all Joy and Power and blinds us to the Power that is at work within us, through the Holy Spirit.
Therefore, I have found on this journey, that whenever I am feeling the panic of all of those crippling fears come near me and I feel like it is going to capsize the stability of the boat I am in, I am reminded by the lord all of the time, to tell the storm to Calm down in Jesus name! I then find myself with a peace that can only come through the Power of God who is at work within my life! This is something to stand up and Praise the Lord for, trust me!
Another verse that has brought about a freedom and joy into my life in the midst of these struggles has been;
Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”
The Joy of the Lord is my strength! This is not something that I have to muster up within myself, but it is something that bubbles up from deep within me and strengthens my very core; I get to rejoice in the Lord in spite of the circumstances that I find myself in.
Another verse that the lord has used to encourage me is this;
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who long for your saving help always say, “The LORD is great!”
You see, the Apostle Paul, when he wrote those words to the church in Philippi, was in prison, and up to that point, he had endured many severe floggings, stoning’s, ship wrecks, people angry at him for the message that he brought, he had been in prison, shackled, hungry and severely persecuted. All of this happens to him and he says to the church, “Rejoice in the Lord always, I will say it again, Rejoice!”
How was that possible? How could a human being endure such hardships without becoming a little bitter and resentful of what was happening to him?
The answer is simple, God’s Holy Spirit had filled him up and had given him Joy and Peace in spite of his circumstances, the Holy Spirit had filled him with Power to forgive the people and love them in spite of what they had done to him. The Holy Spirit had shown Paul, that he was never alone in these situations because God was always with him, to strengthen, lead and guide him.
This my friends I have found to be true in my own life, learning to walk with the Lord in the storm of circumstances can produce a harvest of Peace and Joy and Gratefulness that to the human thinking would be impossible, but to the person in Christ, completely possible.
I have learnt that to continue walking with the Lord in this attitude of Joy I needed to learn to cultivate an attitude of thankfulness as well, thanking him for the big and small blessings and miracles along the way. Therefore I can Rejoice in the day that he has given me, thank him for the breath in my lungs, for the ability for my eyes to see the beauty around me, to thank him that my husband is not sicker than he is, to rejoice that even though he is tired and feels week he is still with us. The more I have learnt to thank God for, the more I discover I can thank him for, this then produces a sense of contentment and joy in my spirit and drives away the fear, anxiety and hopelessness that would like to be my companions.
Now I can confidently say, “this is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice in it and be glad in it!”
As I have received Joy and Peace and comfort from the Lord I can share with you what he has done, my prayer for you is that you to will find that God truly is your comfort and strength and peace and source of joy when you face circumstances that are way beyond your control.
So as the Apostle Paul said, “Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice”
Filed under: Our new Journey