I choose joy

It may be a function of age but it seems that I am more and more intrigued by how the choices we make affect our lives. Even seemingly small choices can make a big difference. For example: in cleaning out a closet, someone came across an old picture that looked like a Picasso and asked my wife about it. Arvilla figured it had to be a knock-off (what would a Picasso be doing in a Salvation Army closet?). But just to be sure she had it evaluated and while Sotheby’s could not determine for sure, they said that the picture could be worth thousands. What would have happened if she had simply just thrown it away? Nothing — except The Army would have lost the income from its sale.

The reality is that no matter what the situation, one always has a choice and the choice almost always makes a difference, whether we see it or understand it. For example, to a simple “”how are you today?” greeting from me, the THQ receptionist paused for a moment and then replied, “I choose joy!!” Her choice brightened my day.

In the film “Whose Life Is It Anyway?” Richard Dreyfuss played the part of a young artist who was paralyzed from the neck down in an automobile accident. The doctors told him he would never paint or sculpt again. He would never leave his bed under his own power. With that future before him, the young man decided he no longer wanted to live. Death seemed to him to be the best option. The rest of the film detailed his fight to force the doctors to let him die.

Now contrast that fictional situation with the true story of Joni Erickson Tada. At 17 she was paralyzed from the neck down in a diving accident and faced a helpless existence as a quadriplegic. She was told she would never feed herself, never drive a car, and most likely never marry. She too wanted to die and would have committed suicide if she had been able. When confronted with the Gospel, Joni chose to follow Christ and to let God bring joy and healing to her life. Although God never “healed” Joni in the traditional sense of the word, her choice unlocked a vast ministry – she paints by holding a brush in her teeth, speaks to audiences across the country, drives a specially equipped van, and is married. What could have been the end of her life was only a new beginning

Granted, we are seldom called upon to make drastic choices such as this. But we do make choices daily that affect our lives in a multitude of ways.

  • If someone is rude to you–are you rude back?
  • If someone hurts you–do you try to get even?
  • Are you quick to judge?
  • When faced with a problem, do you look for quick easy answers?
  • How faithful are you in fulfilling responsibilities?
  • What about your daily time alone with the Lord, reading His Word and praying?

How we choose to respond in any given situation reflects on the outside what is happening on the inside. Just like the THQ receptionist, I choose joy! How about you?