Joy in the Storm


Olympic gold medalist Laura Wilkinson knows that choosing God is choosing joy. When she truly needed Him, He loved her "as is" and carried her through her storm.

“I have set the Lord always before me; because He is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure. For You will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let Your Holy One see corruption. You make known to me the path of life; in Your presence there is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Psalm 16:8-11 (ESV)

Olympic gold medalist Laura Wilkinson sacrificed much to pursue her sport of platform diving to the highest level. She left a college scholarship, all of her friends and two NCAA titles to train for the Olympics. Then, shortly before the Olympic trials, Laura broke her right foot in three places, basically shattering it.

“That obviously wasn’t part of my plan to get to the games,” she says. “I was so angry and depressed. This was everything to me.” She felt the weight of the world on her shoulders when everything was happening at once. It all hit her hard one day as she stood in her living room. She dropped her crutches and fell to her knees in tears that turned into screams of “Why?” and “How could this be good for me?”

After experiencing every emotion she could imagine and pouring them all out through her tears, Laura ended up thanking God -- not because she was happy, but because she knew God was in the middle of the storm with her.

“He never left me,” she reflected. “That is joy. Choosing God is choosing joy. He took me broken and tattered physically, mentally and emotionally. He loved me ‘as is.’ He carried me through the storm. Joy in God, hope in God and love because of God is not fleeting. It will never leave you, no matter what dreams are broken, what jobs are lost, what illness comes. No matter what you face, He has overcome the world. Jesus said, ‘In the world, you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.’” John 16: 33 ESV

Questions: Have you faced injuries or troubles that threatened to shatter your dreams? How can you determine now to choose God in the midst of hard times so that you can experience fullness of joy?

Prayer: Heavenly Father, when I face troubles that rock my world, help me to turn toward You and not away from You. Help me to remember in those difficult moments that You are present with me, and that by choosing You, I can choose joy.

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