The summer had been unusually cold and wet, and I was longing for the sun. I set off from Poland to visit friends in southern France, where I was sure to enjoy sunny days. And I wasn’t disappointed. Shortly after my arrival, elated at my first sight of blue skies in months, I went for a walk… and promptly twisted my ankle.
I faced the prospect of sitting in a chair with my leg elevated for the duration of my short visit. As you can imagine, my ability to have a good attitude was sorely put to the test. The Lord and I had a little talk.
I realized that nothing would change the fact that I couldn’t walk, but my attitude would significantly impact how I experienced my visit. And so, after my little temper tantrum with the Lord, I decided to choose joy. I wanted the sun? Well, I could still lie around all day outside, soaking in the rays while reading a book. And you know what? I actually had a good time.
I recognize that, of all the things that can steal our joy, this incident is relatively minor. It was, therefore, somewhat easy for me to reject the anger and negativity that was crouching at my door. But the biblical principle of choosing joy isn’t dependent on the severity of our situation.
The Apostle Paul inspires me to choose joy. He calls us to rejoice in the Lord always, and he himself did so from prison. By adding the words “in the Lord,” he shows us how. God is the source of our joy, and the more we focus on him, the more we can rejoice in all circumstances.
I don’t believe Paul means we should rejoice at everything. Many things – such as death and destruction – bring only sadness, but we can still find joy in their midst. I can’t find a place where Paul rejoiced at being a prisoner, but he certainly found many reasons to be joyful despite his chains.
Let us choose to do the same.
What steals your joy? How do you overcome it?