“Joy is not the same as happiness. We can be unhappy about many things, but joy can still be there because it comes from the kmowledge of God’s love for us. We are inclined to think that when we are sad, we cannot be glad, but in the life of a God-centered person, sorrow and joy can exist together….Joy does not simple happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day. It is a choice based on the knowledge that we belong to God and have found in God our refuge and our safety and that nothing, not even death, can take God away from us.” Henri Nouwen
I selected this reading to challenge myself as I struggle through the throes of a nasty cold—seven days and I am still in a continuing low fever, an off and on cough, a sore throat. The doctor has seen me and I have an antibiotic, I am drinking lots of liquids, resting/sleeping/staying home, praying. So far, nothing has suddenly changed, and I really do not expect to. I know I must wait patiently upon the Lord. Yet I realize I am still so wrapped up in myself, not God. I want to be well and have my “old” life back. Exactly what God will never give me. Nouwen’s prayer is so appropriate: “let me die to the desire to choose my own way and select my own desire. You do not want to make me a hero, but a servant who loves you.”
2 thoughts on “a choice we make every day”
Hey Eric. You and me both! Been bunked up for over two weeks with pneumonia that has now turned into strep throat.
I have an issue with this concept, or how it plays out in reality with Christians I know. I see a lot of my Christian friends running around when they're sick/suffering/in pain/having trouble with a sheepy little smile on their face saying things like "I'm fine, it's God's Will so I'm happy!" or "God loves me, so I wouldn't be anywhere but here!" I myself have been guilty of this a couple times. But deep beneath the forced contentment, in myself and them, I can see that they're NOT happy and they to NOT really want to be here.
I've struggled with this past two weeks. Yes, God loves me. Yes, God ordained my sickness. But I still find myself NOT WANTING TO BE SICK ANY MORE. I want to be out, doing, not laying around watching the world turn my days away while I wither away.
Now, I'm split on this. No, I don't think God wants us wallowing in our suffering or complaining. The Old Testament Israelites stories are very clear about that. But I also don't think God wants us to force emotion. Where's the middle ground? What IS the healthy, Godly posture to take in physical suffering? Your thoughts? Ideas?
Great comments, Will. We need to have another great conversation over coffee! Give me a call when you want to get together.