One Decision Away from Joy

The Lord is my strength and my shield;
in him my heart trusts, and I am helped;
my heart exults,
and with my song I give thanks to him. (Psalm 28:7)

I have not felt very joyful lately; in fact, something that happened about 30 minutes ago served as a stark reminder of just how frayed my nerves - and spirit - are at the moment. Living with chronic pain for the past 8+ years has taught me that the journey has lots of ebbs and flows, peaks and valleys, and for the past three years or so that’s helped me keep a relatively even keel, but for some reason its been a lot harder in 2019 to not lose heart. Why? I think its just the constant nagging presence of my old friend pain; it just wears on me, and when I start focusing on how hard life is or how scared I am of what might be, my joy vanishes.

However, I’ve also learned over the past 8+ years that joy is possible in the midst of something has hard as chronic pain. I experienced it in large measure just yesterday, watching the grin of my 4-year-old son as he practiced swimming with his face in the water. I’ve felt it as my wife and I share our thoughts over a simple devotional in the evening after the kids are in bed. Joy happens just about every time I get behind the microphone at KCWN!

Max Lucado believes we are always just “One Decision Away from Joy,” the title of a recent devotional. Max states that joy is a process; it happens like this:

First, we recognize we are in need…we are poor in spirit. Next, we repent of our self-sufficiency…we mourn. We quit calling the shots and surrender control to God…we’re meek. Grateful for his presence, we yearn for more of him…we hunger and thirst. As we grow closer to him, we become more like him. We forgive others…we’re merciful. We change our outlook…we’re pure in heart. We love others…we’re peacemakers. We endure injustice…we’re persecuted.

As we grow closer to him, we become more like him - and we know from Scripture that Jesus was - and is - full of joy! Joy that endures and thrives in spite of circumstances! I don’t know about you, but that is something I’d love to have!!!

Max closes his devotional like this:

The more radical the change the greater the joy. His is a joy that consequences cannot quench. His is a peace that circumstances cannot steal. And it is within your reach. You are one decision away from joy.

In a world where everything changes and nothing ever stays the same, isn’t it awesome to know that we can have a joy that can never be stolen or quenched - if we stay connected to the vine, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. If you’re feeling discouraged today, just remember - you’re always just one decision away from joy!