I love talking about joy. I think because I have been most joyful in my life when I have been stripped of everything dear to me. It's amazing to me to remember how joyful I was when all of my circumstances were hard. I truly fell in love with Jesus in that time and I realized that He is really all I need to be happy.
This week we have been meditating on different passages about joy for one of our classes (Spiritual Life). This morning in class my friend, Anahi, raised her hand to share this testimony: (paraphrased in my own words and written with her permission)
"After reading Habakkuk 3:17-19 I personalized it for myself. Even if David and I are short on money and food, I decide to be joyful in the Lord. I prayed that God would truly make this a reality in my life. But I knew that meant that He would probably allow me to go through trials in this area. Sure enough, last night we were robbed about a block away in the store (pulperia). All they took was about 30 quetzales (less than 5 dollars) and our inexpensive cell phone. But I can truly say that I am joyful because, whoever did this must need much more than we do - we really are doing alright."
Anahi started to cry as she shared her story and I was really touched by her testimony. I began thinking about all the people we know who have been robbed and assaulted here weekly. Jewelry has literally been torn off of girls that I know. Instead of feeling sorry for myself for living in such a violent place, I realized that I need to be joyful and praise God for His continual protection. I, unlike the people here who do these crimes, have a reason to be joyful - my hope and salvation is in my Lord. But they do not have the same hope. They are so lost and they need Jesus.
It really touched me to read about the conditions that the apostle Paul probably had to live in when he was in prison. I am such a wimp when it comes to cold weather. But as Paul withstood the cold, nakedness, hunger, and terrible conditions of the prison, he wrote of joy in his letters. Not to mention all that Jesus went through joyfully for my salvation.
Joy. I love that word...I especially love when I am fully living it out. I want to choose joy every day like Habakkuk did, no matter what I'm going through.