Walking Out Joy


Brenda Emmons shares a story about her friend who lost her husband to cancer and the joy she had in spite of the heart-breaking circumstance.

Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance” James 1:2-3.

I was spending time with one of my dear friends whose husband was nearing the end of his journey with brain cancer. I had spent the night with her, considering her husband would be passing over to Heaven any day. The following morning we read her morning devotional and she told me how beautiful their journey had been, and the joy she had in her heart in spite of all of the heart-breaking circumstances.  These were not just words… these were attitudes lived out every day of her journey.  You can tell when someone walks with James 1:2-3 in their heart. 

I read Kay Warren’s book a while back, Choose Joy, which expanded my definition into a spiritual concept that gave me freedom.  Her definition for joy is as follows:  ‘Joy is the settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of my life; the quiet confidence that ultimately everything will be alright, and the determined choice to praise God in all circumstances.’ This is now the definition my mind always goes to, and my friend’s face is the person I will always think of when I consider joy.  At a certain point, she graciously displayed the settled assurance that God was in their plan and working out His will.  Her gentle spirit showed her quiet confidence that God would be faithful in carrying her through grief.  Her constant praise of God’s blessings through this journey amazed me daily. 

When I think of the small details that we obsess over… the annoyances of life… the things that didn’t go our way… our entitlements… it is a wonder we ever feel joy.  That is why we must be determined people to live out this definition.  Otherwise, we will be people who are tossed by the waves of adversity never dropping anchor, constantly drenched by a new set of unsettling circumstances. 

My friend’s husband passed over into the arms of God, and because of her joy and confidence in God, it makes me more confident in Him.  She will suffer, but she will praise. She will be lonely, but she will never be alone in Him. She will reflect, but she will be blessed. She is a woman of James 1:2-3.

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