Fight For JOY

Advent is here. . .the joyful anticipation of Christ’s birth and his return.  I love it.

This week’s topic:  Joy

It’s a hard one, joy.  Because in the midst of pain and suffering and in the midst of goodness and fun there is to be joy.  Joy because Christ reigns.  Joy because truth will prevail.  Joy because everything is being used to transform us to be more like our perfect Savior, Jesus.

So why do we have to fight for joy?  Because we forget why we have it in the first place.  Joy is bound to Jesus, yet our hearts seek communion with other things.  We stake our territory and fight for our will to be done, all the while forsaking joy.

I have to fight for joy.

Today was so difficult.  The approaching surgery is a source of anxiety, fear, and a ton of “what ifs.”  I find myself in the dark room of Unknown, meditating on the mysteries of what hasn’t come.  It drives me crazy.  I doubt God, I panic, and there is no rejoicing to be heard.  Then I fret.  How can someone who proclaims the love of Jesus doubt her Savior?!  Embarrassed, I tend to tuck in my fears to look presentable to the outside world, when really what’s going on is, “What will happen?”  “What if I’m different?” “What if I die?” “What if I am unable to recover?” “What if my life capacity changes?”

I have to fight for joy.

Joy says that God is working for the good of those who love him and are called according to his good purpose (Romans 8:28).  The good God is referring to is the blessedness of becoming more like Jesus; conforming to him.

I can think of no better opportunity to conform than in the midst of pain, suffering, fear, and anxiety.

I have to fight for joy because in this world there are monstrous surges of not wanting to be like Jesus.  Of saying yes to me, to what feels good.  Saying yes to what I want when I want it.  Ignoring the call to submit to Christ and pretending my tiny acts of service are an acceptable substitute to following God.

I have to fight for joy because joy submits to God no matter what happens.  And there are lots of things I do not want to happen.

I have to fight for joy because joy has a grateful heart no matter what happens.  And like I said before, there are a lot of things I do not want to happen.

We have to fight for joy.

Today I am fighting.  I am slowly and painfully turning from my own desires and submitting to God.  And you know what, even though today has been hard, I feel so close to God and there is no where I’d rather be than with him.

With God the fullness of joy is found.

“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”  1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

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