Ever had one of those days that take the smile right off your face? The car breaks down on your way to work. The school calls to say your child just threw up in the classroom and needs to go home. Hard days make it hard to keep smiling, but even so, we still have reasons to rejoice.
We don’t always get to choose what happens to us, but we can choose our response.
Hidden in the last pages of the Old Testament, we find a remarkable role model. Habakkuk had no control over the disasters going on around him, but “he chose to control his response by rejoicing in the Lord regardless…” (UCB Word for Today, Sept. 19)
Habakkuk chose joy despite overwhelming circumstances.
We can make the same choice:
I want to respond to challenges like Habakkuk did. Instead of letting difficulties drag me down, I want to choose to rejoice anyway, but it doesn’t come naturally. What comes naturally is complaining, whining, and feeling sorry for poor little me.
So I’m taking three steps towards a choosing a more joyful attitude when my road gets bumpy:
1. Keep an Eternal Perspective.
Nothing that happens today can change God’s eternal promises. Our sins have been forgiven. We’ve passed from death to life. The Holy Spirit lives inside of us, giving us the strength we need. We don’t have to be afraid because God promises to be with us wherever we go.
2. Delight in God’s Word.
I want to get as much of God’s Word in me as I can. God’s Word strengthens our faith. It counteracts depression by encouraging us. God’s Word gives us a blueprint for overcoming challenges. It imparts wisdom. God’s Word renews our hope.
Even when the bumps and hard knocks of life threaten to steal our joy, we can choose to trust that God has a perfect plan. We may not understand, but we know He uses every trial to shape us more closely to His imagine.
Hard days make it hard to keep smiling, but we can still take steps towards choosing a joyful attitude. Keeping an eternal perspective, delighting in God’s word, and simply trusting help us to develop an attitude that says, “I didn’t sign up for this day, but I’m rejoicing anyway!”
God is carrying out his eternal purposes in us. One day we’ll see Him face to face. That’s cause for rejoicing.
What do you think? Is it really possible to CHOOSE joy?