For some odd reason that I simply cannot explain, lately it seems everytime my mom and I are in a store together a random stranger will start a conversation with us out of nowhere. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a Texas girl, there really isn’t anything all that odd about smiling and making small talk with random strangers at times. I think it’s just part of how we are in Tx (my family from up north didn’t really get this by the way, thus why I’m assuming this is a southern thing) but a 10 min. conversation about life and God…not so usual. But it happened. In Wal-Mart no less.
Last week my mom and I were walking through Wal-Mart when a elderly lady in a motorized shopping cart approached us to draw our attention to a special on light bulbs. It was a pack of four light bulbs for .50 cents and she was excited lol. She started telling us that her motorized cart wasn’t working very good and how she needed it to get around. She showed us that she has prosthetic legs. She proceeded to tell us how she had been in a few really bad car accidents and how the last one she had was the worst. She developed gangrene and had to have her legs amputated.
So many bad and hard things happened to this sweet lady,but what struck me and made a lasting impression on me was her joy. She had sooo much joy, and a real peace about her. She said God had not just brought her through all of this but He carried her through it. And she knew if He spared her that it meant He still had a purpose for her life, that there are still things He wants her to do. Jokingly she said her daughter told her “Momma, God just knew that you would cause too much chaos in heaven” lol. She told us that instead of dwelling on the bad stuff that she made a choice to laugh instead. That all she could do in the midst of all the pain was to be joyful and keep her humor about life. The thing is, you could see it wasn’t forced, it was genuine. She praised God for sparing her. For giving her another day to live with joy the purpose He has given her.
After a while we said our goodbyes. She said thanks to us for listening to her, I told her I enjoyed our conversation and I truly meant it.
It made me think about all the petty and unimportant things I let steal my joy. I’ve been blessed enough to be spared from the kind of pain that this sweet lady faced but she has way more joy and peace than I do. I believe Satan works overtime to steal our joy and peace. He wants us to be joyless, hopeless, and void of peace. Joyce Meyer says “The devil wants to steal your joy because he knows that joy is your strength. He wants you to be weak so that you won’t resist the turmoil he sets against you.” In Nehemiah chapter 8, it says “Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Do you let the Lord’s joy be your strength? Do you look to Him to fill you with the peace and joy you need? I think we all sometimes have the tendency to look everywhere else before going to the Lord, who is the one only source.
Jesus came to give us abundant life. How many of us can say we are living that abundant life, that joy and peace He died to afford us? Life is hard and sometimes we have to make a choice that in the midst of the turmoil we are going to focus our eyes on Jesus and trust Him to provide joy, peace, and hope. Another quote I really like by Joyce Meyer says “You can enjoy your life if you determine to do so. Say, “I am going to enjoy every aspect of my life, because Jesus died so I could have joy unspeakable and full of glory.”
Ask God to give you joy unspeakable and full of glory. Ask Him for peace that passes all understanding. He will give that to you. A couple things I’ve been trying to do is pray with expectancy – believing and trusting that God is already moving on my behalf. And praising – so often when we are in need we forget to praise and thank God for the work He’s doing and is going to do in our lives. There’s great joy and freedom to be found in praise and worship. I really believe that it’s key to not just ask but to ask with excpectancy and praise.
God doesn’t want us to live in defeat. He wants us to be full of joy and peace. Don’t let it be stolen from you today. Remember that we are more than conquers through Him.
Below are some scriptures on joy:
“All the days of the oppressed are wretched, but the cheerful heart has a continual feast.” – Proverbs 15:15
“Splendor and majesty are before him; strength and joy in his dwelling place.” – 1 Chronicles 16:27
“Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is sacred to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” – Nehemiah 8:10
“To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy” – Jude 1:24
“Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory” – 1 Peter 1:88
“Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” – Romans 5:33
“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine upon you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.” – Numbers 6:24 – 26