I’ll start with the definition of ‘joy’ that I’ve been using all month long and will likely use for the rest of my life.
“Joy is the settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of my life, the quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be alright, and the determined choice to praise God in every situation.”
I just love this! I think it’s as close to perfect as I could hope. If this is indeed what joy is, and I think it is, then I am full of joy.
I recently met with a man that had just moved out of one of our shelters. To me he exudes joy. He has a smile that is simply contagious.
During our time together he spoke of having to flee his country and seek political asylum, he lived in refugee camps where the conditions were pitiful and people died every day, and he spoke of his own major surgery that saved his life but has left him too weak to do manual labour. Yes, there were times when you could see the pain in his eyes as he recalled his life. It’s not like he’s completely forgotten just how difficult things have been. But it’s clear that at the end of the day, he chooses joy in the way this definition describes it.
He is sure that God is in control of all that happens.
He is confident that everything is going to be alright.
And he indeed chooses to praise God in every situation he’s found himself in. His infectious smile proves it.
Yes, the stories we hear every day in this work are hard. But hopefully they continue to challenge as well as teach us all of the value of choosing joy.
Joy will go a long way for us as we continue to strive to be ‘The Hand of God in the Heart of the City”.
Lord of all joy,
Give us eyes to see
and ears to hear
your joy all around us;
even in the midst of our pain
and the pain of the world.
Give each of us the assurance that you are in control.
The confidence that everything is going to be alright.
And the determination to choose to praise you in every situation.