A good friend of mine, Mountain Democrat columnist Wendy Schultz, wrote a wonderful column this past week about joy. In the column, she wrote: “…joy is already here, waiting to be noticed. Often, we miss it because we’re not used to looking for joy or because we expect a giant, in-your-face emotion. Joy can be quiet and small, but it is always waiting for discovery.”
From a Christian perspective, the giver of joy is God. James 1:17 tells us that “all good and perfect gifts come down from the Father of Lights.” It is truly God’s gift to mankind, and it is God’s special gift to those who choose to follow Jesus. But as a life gift from our heavenly Creator, I agree with Wendy, God’s little treasure called joy can be found whenever one looks for it in the right places.
I will never forget a friend of mine’s experience a few years back. An avid bicycle rider, one spring she rode into the canyon hills around her Orange County home. Surrounded by a field of strawberries, she stopped her bike upon hearing a beautiful male voice singing. The song she did not recognize, nevertheless she was enraptured by the ethereal melody that seemed to envelope her. She looked around for a long moment trying to discern from which direction the voice came, and who the singer was. The strawberry field was desolate, not a soul in sight, yet the singing – clearly audible to the human ear – persisted. As she pondered this, another voice came to her, this time very clearly from within: “Will you choose joy?”
My friend was enthralled to have heard not only what she decided was angelic singing, but the voice of God speaking to her heart. Both music and message lingered long after she left the strawberry field and returned home. The message also returned to her time and again throughout the rest of that year…a year in which she dealt with the most excruciating events of her life.
Not only is life full of fun and happiness, it is also full of heartache and pain. At times, the heartache rips at the very fabric of one’s being and shakes the foundation of one’s faith. I know. When that happens, I remember the message my friend heard so clearly that day; most especially, I remember who the Author was—the Lord God Almighty Himself, who has said He will never leave or forsake me, and is “more than able” to help me choose joy during those times when I am struggling to do the choosing for myself.
Joy is a gift. Joy is also a choice. Choose joy!