Why Choose Joy
A few months ago, I was out walking one evening when flashing lights appeared in my peripheral vision. Were they shooting stars whizzing across the right side of my face? I soon realised that my vision was impaired. A trip to the Optometrist next day confirmed my suspicions. My rambunctious (and also aging) right eye was having what’s called VPD or Vitreous Posterior Detachment! It was time to visit an eye specialist.
I was asked not to drive after my eye appointment because the consultant would put drops into my eye, making it unsafe to drive. Our weekly grocery delivery was due between 8 and 11 a.m. on the day of my doctor's appointment. I was sure I had ample time to catch my 11.30 a.m. bus. Alas … my usually prompt delivery chose the one day it HAD to be punctual, to play games with me! Several calls to the Supermarket and numerous exclamations later, I hurriedly opened the front door to the delivery guy, shoved most (yes, I missed the fish and Ice cream!) of the cold items into the fridge and freezer, then ran all the way to the bus stand.
That morning turned into a comedy of errors. As I reached the main road, a bus rumbled past. Oh no! Had I missed it? My beloved assured me that my bus was still on its way (thank you God for caring husbands and modern technology) and it did turn up. What a relief! I’d waited three whole months for my appointment, so another 3 months would have been a little too much! As we approached my bus halt, I got up from my seat and rang the bell. Imagine my surprise when the bus didn’t stop—it went all the way to the main halt instead. I had to clamber back onto the main road and walk a fair distance to reach my destination.
Despite my adventures of the morning, I was still considerably early for my appointment with about 30 minutes to spare. I’d planned to sit in the waiting room, chatting to my Papa God, with my prayer diary in hand and praise music in my ears. But my misadventures for the day were not over yet. The first inkling of a problem reared its head when the nurse asked me for my referral letter. Referral? What referral? (When I got home, I found a letter dated 3 months earlier, reposing serenely in my medical folder!) The receptionist was young, uncertain and inexperienced but rose to the occasion and phoned my optometrist. He was away so his referral would arrive a day too late. Sigh! She next called my GP and very thankfully he obliged. Soon it was faxed to the specialist rooms. It took all of 30 minutes for that fiasco! And … there was one more delay. The drops the receptionist had put into my eyes hadn’t worked so I had to go back to the waiting room, to wait a further 15 minutes for the drops to work. It was turning out to be an interesting day.
After my crazy morning … what else could go wrong? Nothing! Nothing at all. The moment I walked into the surgeon’s room, my day turned on its head. The eye specialist was a dapper small man—not wildly attractive in physical terms, but oh how he blessed me. He was friendly, professional, kind, polite and respectful. At the end of an instructive and helpful visit, he wished me all the best for my writing. When I thanked him for his care he said ‘Pleasure’ sounding as if he meant it. I came away from the appointment, a fountain filled and overflowing. For one thing, the doctor confirmed that all was OK with my eye. And that, after all, was my main concern—everything else was secondary and of little account.
As I walked back to the Plaza to do some shopping afterwards (bleary-eyed but very happy), I asked God to forgive me. He had sent me a teensy test that day but sad to say, I’d failed—miserably. I had been short and impatient with the supermarket over their delivery being late. I was irritated that things didn’t go my way. I didn’t trust God with any of what occurred. My attitude sucked. No, I wasn’t proud of myself. When I walked around the Plaza later, I could finally zoom outside of my petty little world. I thanked God for a happy outcome, grateful too for the kind caring doctor—what a difference he made!
The events of my day was a wake-up call to …
always choose joy.
Choosing joy doesn’t negate circumstances. Choosing joy doesn’t mean I don’t mourn my losses. Choosing joy doesn’t mean I do not suffer. Choosing joy simply means that I decide to trust God despite life’s circumstances. That I do not give into my own self-centredness. That I am forgiving and kind with others’ foibles. That I see the big picture. That I don’t let the mundane stuff of life get to me. That God is glorified through my life.
We have just been through the most significant weekend in the Christian Calendar. On Good Friday, darkness descended into our world. It seemed like the light was permanently snuffed out. But the Christian story reverberates with joy. Grieving may endure for the night but joy comes in the morning. Satan may have plans to disrupt our world but we know He’s already been defeated. I don’t know what you are going through today. Perhaps there is sadness or grief, a sense of loneliness of emptiness? Perhaps life hurts too much? Choosing joy is not always easy to do. But for us followers of Jesus, if we refuse to choose joy, it’s like reading a story (we know has a grand ending) stopping every few pages to cry buckets of tears at the twists in the tale we encounter, forgetting to enjoy it’s narrative or to trust its Gifted Author!
Why choose joy? Because most of what bothers us is temporary. Because often tomorrow is a brighter day. Because seasons change but God’s love never does. Because one might as well be joyful rather than miserable. Because Jesus our Author is also the Author of JOY!
And don’t forget … He has promised to use all our circumstances for our good.
God’s grand story has the best ending possible.
Are you up to it? Let’s choose JOY!
"Be Joyful Always." 1 Thess 5:16