Joy is what you fight for

hand wraps“Choose happiness.”

It’s an easy phrase, isn’t it?  Catchy.  Scratch it over a sunset and hang it on the wall.  A simple decision.  Today, I choose to be happy. Bang; and it’s done.

This is what I’m told. The reality can be very different.  It’s all well and good when you’re well and good…but when you’re not, – well.  Positive thinking doesn’t make it any better.

Happiness happens to you. It’s there or it’s not. It’s your situation. The home you’ve dreamed of. The job you worked for. The family you expect. The health you take for granted.

These are good things – but they’re not mine to choose. The right to get married.  The right to a decent wage.  The right to a partner.  The right to enjoy life. The right to live the way I see fit.

If I see these things as rights, they’ll destroy me.  Because when they’re taken from me, my hope becomes despair. If they’re my reason for living, then without them, I’m finished.

If my reason is health, I am lost when cancer returns.

If my reason is family; then alone, I am nothing.

If my reason is work, I lose my job and I lose myself.

If my reason is beauty, I lose my looks and I am worthless.

So, do we settle down for misery and a life stripped of hope? No. At times like these, we give up on happiness – but instead, we fight for joy. Gospel joy. Deep Christian peace – whatever happens.

Hurting; but not running, not hiding, not anaesthetising and not giving up. Knowing that Jesus is enough – even for this.

Ask me what I want, and I say, “to be happy.” But the Bible offers much, much more –

“Joy unspeakable and full of glory” (1 Peter 1:8).

This joy is far from the world’s idea of happiness and comfort. As Peter testifies, it’s not only tested by fire – it is found in the furnace. It comes through suffering and sadness and sickness, but it outlasts them all.  And nothing can take it from us.


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7 thoughts on “Joy is what you fight for

  1. I clicked on this as I struggle to find joy. I’ve never thought about fighting for it before. Just need your eyes fixed on Jesus,the rare glimpses of joy I’ve had is like in the middle of a worship song when u just think ur heart will overflow with it but can you get that in the reality of life when the music/hype has gone?

  2. Hurting; but not running, not hiding, not anaesthetising and not giving up. Knowing that Jesus is enough – even for this.

    That is the place/position I’m aiming for. Thankyou for this timely reminder

  3. Hi Jo,
    In my own life I know Jesus is most real to me when I’m most aware of my need. That doesn’t mean it’s easy – the opposite! But the Bible promises it is, if we fight for it.In the Bible, joy keeps coming up in the context of suffering. Think of 1 Peter 1 – “joy unspeakable” comes in the midst of great suffering in verses 3-9. In Philippians 3:10 Paul says he wants to know the power of Christ’s resurrection in the fellowship of sharing in Christ’s sufferings. The whole letter of Philippians is about joy and yet Paul is in prison as he writes, facing the very real threat of execution.

  4. It’s hard & not hard at the same time though!

    It surprises me which areas turn out unexpectedly hard or easy to find joy in – yes, I lost my favourite teacher to cancer last year (& cried for a whole weekend). Yes, one year later my grandpa passed away in the same month, two weeks before the anniversary of my teacher’s passing. Which means October is gonna be a potentially difficult month to handle. But that’s okay. Joy comes in knowing my teacher had a short but fulfilling life, that her last legacy was to lead her mother to the gospel, at her funeral service. Joy comes in knowing that in God’s tremendous grace & mercy, Grandpa is like the last worker who is late to the field, having only embraced the gospel a month before his passing. Yet, he still gets the full reward :-) Joy is knowing that my grandpa & my teacher are both healed & whole in the presence of God – one day I will be, too!

    And so, having this knowledge (towards something sufficiently epic as bereavement) that I can find joy despite this – it is an earthly separation of who-knows-how-long!! -, .. the fight for joy is unexpectedly so much harder in terms of .. mental health. I think I’ve shared sufficiently on this (partly, privately on messenger for which I will always be thankful haha) – but suffice to say, anaesthetizing is easy, feeling is hard.

    … and it is difficult (& I feel a tad ashamed – all fault mine, though) that for all the things I cannot handle (exhaustion of long work hours, fear of conflict in therapy, fear of expressing intense emotions in therapy, among others) .. I tell them to a virtual stranger on the internet. Haha (that’s you btw, :p)

    Thank you for being so gracious & sweet, & sorry for being random-stranger-ly burdensome ._. xx

  5. Thank you for this post today.
    Yes indeed. We are all embroiled in a war and joy is one of the things we fight for.

    As it comes through suffering, I trust I’m in for a season of great joy!

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