I have thinking about what it means to have joy. This is probably because it seems of late that I am
having a hard time experiencing it. I’m not talking about “happiness” because that is dependent on circumstances. I’m talking about that lightness of spirit that comes from confidence that no matter what, God is in control. So in reality, my question is not “what is it?” but “what keeps me from having it?”.
One joy stealer, I’ve concluded, is an preoccupation with what is wrong rather than continuous observation of what is good. Our continuous complaining about bad traffic, long lines, poor service, physical ailments, messy relationships and looming/missed deadlines casts a long and dark shadow that blocks out the light of joy. This shadow hinders our ability to see the persistent presence of God even in the minutia of our daily lives. We overlook the small miracles and take for granted that, which if it was taken away, would be sorely missed. What do I mean by this?
A few months ago, I met a lady from my church who called to ask me to visit her. Nancy, had watched our church services on the internet and wanted to meet me. I went to encourage her and ended up being the recipient of the blessing. In spite of a myriad of health problems that kept her home-bound and confined to a bed 24 hours a day, all Nancy did was smile and talk about the goodness of God. At one point she told me that she doubted if her feet would ever touch the ground again, but she stated it as a matter of reality rather than a lament of sadness. I left feeling better than I had in months.
A couple of days ago, I received an email from Nancy. Along with her note, she included a picture of herself sitting the side of the bed, smiling, of course. She wrote:
Hello Dear Friends!!!! Sitting on side of my bed for the second time in about 9 months. My knee is bending better. I am working my way back into wheelchair or scooter. “I Know I Can, I Know I Can” I sat up for about an hour and 15 minutes. GOD IS GOOD! ALL THE TIME!
Nancy reminds me that joy grows in the fertile ground of a thankful heart. It is not found in the perfection of my plan coming together or the absence of adversity, but in the simple realization that whatever God chooses to give me is as good as He is. Thanks for the reminder, Nancy. You are my angel of joy.