Choosing Joy in Tough Times
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” Philippians 4:4
Heart unsettled and all sense of control out the window, I passed a print to my mom that boldly proclaimed, Choose Joy. Cancer was multiplying through her body and the future seemed scary. How could we possibly have joy in a moment like this?
I gave her a gift that frustrated me deep down. I didn’t want to rejoice. Over the months, I cried out in prayer and tears as I watched my mom accept chemo and radiation, shave her head, and continue fighting. The world shook beneath me as I feared what could happen.
I leaned into God and dug deeper into Scripture and read “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4, NIV) I wanted to understand and embrace how I could always rejoice, no matter the circumstance, no matter what happened in the future.
Paul, an ancient evangelist, wrote these encouraging words to the Philippians while “in chains.” He had known the loneliness of house arrest and dark prison cells, while persecution and death threats followed him. Rather than spending time complaining and allowing bitterness to take root, he rejoiced in the middle of his sufferings confident of his eternal future with Jesus.
Rejoicing always is not stubbornly painting on a smile, it’s about recognizing and being conscious of the undeserved favor of God in all circumstances. When we focus on God’s grace, we experience deep confidence and outer joy even when trials come. It doesn’t mean the absence of tears or righteous anger against injustice, but rather a response to our certain and faithful God in the midst of uncertainty and pain.
Today as we feel trapped by all that is going on in the world, separated from loved ones, and looking at many unknown tomorrows, my mom reminds me of the Choose Joy image framed in her home as she celebrates 8 years cancer-free. As followers of Jesus, we can stand confident and choose joy (choose to see the grace of God) in all circumstances. Let us be mindful and set our hearts on all Christ has done for us, and all that He will do in the future. Let us delight in God’s grace, always.
In what ways do you recognize and rejoice in the grace of God during the pandemic?
Ginny Davidson is an overcomer, brain tumor survivor, wife, and mother boldly declaring God’s hope and peace. With an M.A. in Education, she speaks so others can experience freedom from anxiety and life change. Whether it’s a conversation on her vintage couch or sharing with a group, Ginny is compelled to share the message of the peace-filled life to a world of women plagued by fear. In the evenings she can be found outside with her husband and kids, attending dance parties around the record player in the living room, or highlighting a great book. Visit her online at www.ginnydavidson.com.
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