Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
This quote from the bible looks all cute scribbled on a chalkboard in my dining room, but lately, it’s been annoying me. Be joyful… always?? Is that a joke, God? I know you’ve got a good sense of humor!
Ever since I wrote that quote down, life has been anything but joyful. Sickness, defiant kids, job uncertainty, and a whole bunch of other things have turned me into a grumpy girl. Be joyful always. Seriously? Seriously!
I finally reached my limits, yesterday, as I was hugging my daughter, Willow, tightly, so the anesthesiologist could make her 5th (yes FIFTH) attempt at establishing an IV line. Tears poured from her beautiful blue eyes, right into her mouth, because she was stuck in scream mode. Who wouldn’t be, after a half hour of pokes?
“Don’t worry. She’s numb and can’t feel a thing.”
“Really?” I asked.
My question wasn’t directed so much to the anesthesiologist, as it was to God. How on earth was I supposed to be joyful at that moment? No amount of numbing medication could stop the pain we both were feeling.
We’re home now. Willow’s fever is gone. Antibiotics are in and her infection is on it’s way out. Stupid neutropenia. And as always the case after a storm, my glasses are back on and my hindsight 20/20 vision is restored.
While there was nothing joyous about the situation we found ourselves in yesterday, I recognize I was not alone. There is joy in that. Just as my baby cried out to me, I cried out to God. It was a cry of frustration, fear, anger and exhaustion, but God didn’t turn His back. He listened. He held me, as I held Willow. He carried us through. Even after I questioned Him.
This morning, as I still wrestled with the emotions of yesterday’s events, I was slapped back into reality by my In Touch devotional. Right there, under March 26th, Charles Stanley asks “Are you experiencing the abundant life Jesus promised? He wasn’t talking about happy circumstances but, rather, the joy possible through a relationship with Him.”
All this time, I’ve been complaining about how hard life can be. How exhausting. I’ve been unable to find the joy, because it’s not in front of my face. It’s in me. The Holy Spirit is my joy. God in me. He is always there. There is joy in that. I can call on Him, whenever. Even in anger, exhaustion or frustration.
Sure, I may not find reason to smile all the time. But, I have hope there are smiles to come. I just have to keep doing what the chalkboard tells me.