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OPINION: Choose joy e’en in the midst of trials

by Annette Beard | June 15, 2022 at 3:00 a.m.

"Every day I choose joy."

Those words from a dear lady widowed after more than 60 years with her sweet husband.

She contacted me recently, telling me I had been on her mind and she'd been praying for me. I had been praying for her since her husband's death.

It convicted and exhorted me. I, too, regardless of my circumstances, can choose my mindset.

I can be beset with external trials, internal anguish and sorrow, but can choose to react with joy.

Choosing joy isn't ignoring the pain. It isn't avoiding the understandable grief at loosing a loved one or the failure of a dream, but it's knowing that even in the midst of trials, there's hope.

The apostle Paul, from the inside of a dark, dank prison cell wrote to the believers at Philippi: "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again, rejoice!" (Philippians 4:4).

Preacher Alistair Begg wrote: "Joy, like love, is not a victim of our emotions, but a servant of our will."

I must confess, too oft I've been the victim of my emotions, especially when I was young. But, I'm learning.

As with most people who've lived more than six decades, I've experienced almost every conceivable emotion and trial with loved ones -- birth, death, divorce, suicide, loss, gain. And, I've failed miserably again and again in my response to the pain, but I keep getting up and learning and trying again.

When I was a young adult, I would notice the difference in the abiding temperament of people and wonder why some people seemed to grow bitter while others grew better. The circumstances were definitely not the factor as I knew people who had little materially and who had suffered loss who were pleasant and kind and sweet. I knew people who had much materially and appeared to be blessed with pleasures and ease but who were bitter and negative and antagonistic.

It seemed the difference was in their mindset, their determination to choose joy.

In Scripture, Paul wrote to the Corinthians: "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For, as we share abundantly in Christ's sufferings, so through Christ, we share abundantly in comfort also."

The trials we experience, and survive, provide fodder for ministering to others. We can not say "I know how you feel" if we've not had that experience. We can be empathetic, but we don't truly understand. But, when we've experienced that tragedy, and healed, we can share with someone else that they, too, will survive and heal.

It's okay to grieve. In fact, it's necessary and essential and how we're designed. Just remember God's mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23), the sun will rise tomorrow, and we can choose how to face life and the many facets of it.

•••

Editor's note: Annette Beard is the managing editor of The Times of Northeast Benton County, chosen the best small weekly newspaper in Arkansas for five years. The opinions expressed are those of the author. She can be reached at [email protected]

Print Headline: Choose joy e’en in the midst of trials

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