Chronic illness is a lot of things, but joy is not one that comes to mind. There has been so much loss on so many levels. I can make a joke about it once in a while but JOY, you have got to be kidding me.
Sorry, Lord, but YOU are going to have to show me how to have pure joy while walking through chronic illness. Help me wrap my brain and heart around that one like only you can.
[ Trials and Temptations ] “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.”~ James 1:2-3 NIV
Not only do you want me to find joy in these trials of illness, you want me to find “pure joy.” You keep raising the bar and I keep falling deeper into the trials.
Happiness vs Joy
First, we have to understand that “joy” is not “happiness.” God is talking about joy, not happiness.
Happiness is often defined as a happy person, as someone who experiences frequent positive emotions.
Joy is often defined as a source or cause of delight.
We can display happiness and still be quite poor in spirit.
When we use our emotions to guide us to happiness, we miss out on the joy. We miss out on tapping into a deeper faith that can only be found through the testing that produces perservenace.
So… joy is often defined as a source or cause of delight. Jesus can be our source and cause of delight. We can see that source more clearly as we practice perseverance.
When Do We Have ENOUGH Perseverance?
The word “chronic” means long-term. Those of us who have had chronic illness have persevered for a heck of a long time. When is enough, enough?
God’s timeline, his purpose, his plan for our lives is way bigger than me. Sorry, I don’t have the answer to when is enough, enough.
As we turn to God for the answers, he shows us.
While We Wait
While we are waiting for the chronic illness to change, end, be cured or allow us to pass into the kingdom of heaven, we can grow in faith.
While we wait, we can be active in participating with the process of testing our faith through perserverance.
While we wait, grow!!
While we wait, we can seek pure joy in our trials of chronic illness.
How can we find pure joy in the misery of chronic illness?
That will be very different for everyone. Yet the resources to find pure joy are the same for everyone.
For those poor in spirit, lacking from enduring chronic illness, we can tap into the resources of our inheritance. We are children of God. Our Father has everything we need to have pure joy.
I know, easier said than done, especially during the dark trials of chronic illness. But he says it can be done and God is never wrong.
It is okay to acknowledge that chronic illness sucks!!! Pure joy does not come to us because we sweep the facts under the rug.
It is a choice to get lost in the suckiness (not sure that is a word) or tap into God’s resources.
Back To Perseverance
Break it down into bite size pieces.
TODAY, only for today, what do we need to do to persevere through today?
Tap into God’s resources, tap into YOUR inheritance as a child of God, and persevere through TODAY.
- Pain of all sorts is part of chronic illness. Let Jesus carry you while you persevere through the pain of today.
- Mind issues run rampant with chronic illness. Renew your mind by tapping into the resource of God’s Word.
- Isolation usually is part of chronic illness. Let Jesus sit by your side and keep you company today. He is the best company I know!!
Perseverance sometimes means just simply being still. Be still and know that God is who he says he is.
Choosing to be still is an action. It is a choice to actively have faith by displaying perseverance, over and over again.
As we keep persevering through chronic illness, we build our faith. No matter how many times we have done it, it can grow our faith.
Instead of being stuck in chronic illness, put this time to good use. Let God reveal pure joy through these trials. Each day of perseverance is a true victory.
Pure joy can be experienced by knowing that Jesus will carry us through the pain and he will renew our minds if we choose. He will sit by our sides through isolation and overflow the void with his tenderness and love. Jesus and all that he is can change our perspective on the current trial of today.
As we persevere, our faith grows which glorifies God. THAT is pure joy in trials.