I was thinking back over this past week. It hasn’t been my favorite. I know my blogs haven’t been full of uplift and cheer so much, either. It’s been a bit harder to hold onto the cheerfulness factor. But, at the same time, as I thought about that, I realized that cheerful or not, I still had joy.
Joy. I think a lot of people confuse it with happiness. To me, happiness is an emotion, based pretty much on what is happening. “We’re having a baby! We’re so happy.” “My husband brought me flowers for no reason. I’m so happy.” “Yes, honey, of course I’m happy your mother’s coming for the entire summer.” Joy, to me anyway, is something else, something deeper. It’s more than an emotion, and yet it has emotion to it. It is a mixture of peace and happiness and goodness and fulfillment and contentment and security – the knowledge that everything is just as it should be and it will all be all right.
I know that may sound pretty crazy to some people (I’m thinking of one lovely friend in particular right now.) “How can you say everything is just as it should be – you have cancer, you’ve been going through such problems with the side effects? Now your white cell count is so low you can hardly go anywhere.** How is this all right?”
It’s all right because I know that no matter what, it’s in God’s hands. My life is in God’s hands. All of it. I can’t change what is happening anyway, if I fight against it or pout about it or be depressed and miserable it doesn’t get better, I’m just unhappier.
But just relaxing into God’s arms and letting go – that’s joy. It’s a lot like learning to float when I was a kid. As long as I was afraid of the water and stayed stiff and tried to hold myself up, I kept going under. When someone finally convinced me to trust the water and completely relax, even when it felt like I was going to go under, the water held me up. And if a lake or a pool was enough to hold me as a kid, then the God who created the entire universe, who invented cells and giraffes and supernovas and butterflies, and knows my every thought and still loves me – is big enough to hold me very securely. My future, and my present, are safe with him – and that’s joy.
When I was a kid at camp, we used to sing “I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy, down in my heart, down in my heart to stay.” I love knowing that I can relax into that joy, and God has me in his hands – to stay.
**My current white cell count : 300
Minimum to do chemo: 1500 Average: 5000
Please pray it goes up for next Friday’s scheduled chemo!
Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Romans 12:11-12