I had a waxy mess to clean up in the microwave. The contents of two jar candles were almost used up, and I wanted to get the remaining wax out. So I had added water and stuck them in the micro—only problem is, I walked away and forgot about them. When I came back, wax had spattered the remains of my candles all over the interior cavity. I was just lucky it hadn’t oozed out the bottom of the door too. That old ‘60’s song, “When will they ever learn?” popped into my head as I began my sticky clean-up.
That evening I talked to my friend, Joyce, and she was bubbling over too, with joy. Knowing her situation, I was intrigued and amazed by her cheerful voice and her positive spirit. She was struck down over a year ago by a debilitating disease that has caused her a great deal of pain, weakness, and attacks of vertigo. It has also affected her hearing and vision.
The doctors put her on a large dose of prednisone that gradually improved her symptoms, but caused other problems as well. When the doctor started weaning her off this medicine, she got worse and ended up in a nursing home for nearly three weeks of rehabilitation. A recent MRI showed she’s back to where she started from a year ago.
Although this past year has been extremely difficult for her and her family, Joyce always finds a reason to give thanks and praise to God. Not only has she learned to trust God with her circumstances, she bubbles over with joy when she talks of his love and faithfulness to her.
She reminds me of Paul’s words to the Corinthians: “…for when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:10 (NLT), and also to the Philippians: “Whatever happens…may the Lord give you joy.” Philippians 3:1 (NLT)
Joyce told me in our conversation, “I think about the possibility of losing my hearing and my sight, but I don’t dwell on it. I trust God and I thank and praise him for the peace he’s given me in the midst of all this. I can literally feel his joy bubbling up in me even as we speak.”
“That kind of trust doesn’t happen over night,” I said. “You’ve been practicing trusting him, and praising him in spite of your circumstances, for many years through other hardships.” She agreed with me.
Her joyful spirit humbles and amazes me. I can’t get it out of my mind and I hope to learn from her example. We all experience trials in our journey; it’s our response to those problems that counts. “Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy.” Psalm 34:15 (NLT)
“…for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10 (NLT)