Most of us don’t choose a difficult life—it chooses us. But we can choose our response to it. As someone once said, “Pain is inevitable but misery is optional.” Yet, when difficulties arise, misery often seems to be the only option.
Author Lloyd Ogilvie tells of a Christian friend who was physically and emotionally depleted because of extreme pressures. A depressed mood engulfed him. When Ogilvie asked him how he was doing, he said grimly, “Well, joy’s certainly no option!” Ogilvie replied, “You’re right! Joy is no option. It’s your responsibility.”
Shocked, the friend retorted, “You talk about joy as if it were a duty.” Ogilvie responded, “Right again!” He explained that we have a duty to God, ourselves, and others to overcome our moods and to battle through to joy.
In Romans 5, Paul gave these reasons for joy: We have peace with God through Christ, access into grace, and hope of future glory (vv.1-2). We have assurance that tribulation produces perseverance, which in turn builds character and leads to hope (vv.3-4). We have hope that doesn’t disappoint, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts (v.5).
Fill your mind with these truths. Then, no matter what your circumstances, you can choose joy
When trials come and my moods descend,
When pain and sorrows seem never to end,
As I yield to You, Lord, may I see
The peace and joy You've promised me. —Fitzhugh
For the Christian, joy is a choice.