How I Found Joy In A Fortune Cookie

 

Have you ever found yourself struggling with something that used to come easy to you?

I seem to have fallen into a season where it is more difficult for me to find joy every day.  Those who know me well may find this puzzling for me to say right now. So, I must clarify. Happiness and joy are not the same thing. I choose happiness every day. Or I try to. I choose not to be negative and contentment has always come easy.  But happiness is circumstantial. Happiness is temporary.

Joy is Spirit filled and rooted deep in the vine of Jesus Christ. Joy remains regardless of circumstances. Traumatic accidents are not a happy occasion, but we can still find joy among the ashes.

Back in January, I chose a word for 2017. Actually, I truly believe the word was given to me by a God who knew what was coming for me and my family this year. Trauma and uncertainty.

The word is ‘trust.’

And let me just tell you I have been doing a real good job reading about trust.  I’ve memorized a few Bible verses and read them every morning like a good Christian should. I’ve even got a book sitting next to me even now, “Trusting God” by Jeff Bridges. I am the poster child for going at this with passion.

Perfect, check the box passion.

If you’ve been following my blog at all you know that God tends to bonk me on my hard head when I least expect it. If you ask me, that’s how I know it’s God. I find Him most often in the un-ordinary. He’s not a God of routine, that guy. And I was out of mine this morning.

I try to start each of my days with prayer and Bible reading. I use the same devotionals and right now I am clinging to the same Bible verses on trust. I go about my day with happiness and try to count it all joy.

Well, this morning was a little different. I was meeting a friend for breakfast and I didn’t have time to do my usual routine. I arrived a few moments early, so I decided to dig out my Bible app on my phone and check my quiet time box.

Y’all.

Why do they call it quiet time when God seems to be so loud and clear?

I found a reading plan that I had started back in March and abandoned. I don’t know why I abandoned it. I only read the first day. But March was the month my husband suffered a traumatic injury and I’ll be honest, my spiritual needs changed dramatically at that point. You know, it was a great time to flash the word ‘trust’ around.

So, today I read day two.  I’ll leave the verses right here for you:

Matthew 13:44 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.

45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. 46 When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.

“Lord, God why do I not have that joy anymore?” I asked aloud in my empty car. “Why am I not like this man who knows about you and sells everything he has just to be with you?”

“Because you still don’t trust Me.”

My head fell back against the head rest as the truth pierced through to my heart.

He’s right. I don’t. I haven’t.

There’s no guarantee my husband’s arm will heal. There’s no guarantee he will be able to return to his manual labor job. And then what?

I say the words that I ‘trust’ God to heal him. I read the verses and grasp for that joy, but I haven’t really trusted him.

I just got a job I’ve been praying about for years. There’s no doubt in my rational mind that God has prepared me and marked my way for this.

But what if He picked the wrong girl?  What if I screw up? What if I can’t do it like I thought I could?

All of those thoughts are a lack of trust.

I was so convicted. I’ve been faking it all this time. No wonder it’s so hard for me to find joy. I put my faith in myself and not the Love of My Life, Jesus. I’ll never be able to find joy when I rely on anything other than Him.

So later, at lunch, my husband and I had gone out for some Chinese food. And I am telling him about my revelation. I can’t help but shed some tears as I am telling him the story and how I’ve been placing my trust in the wrong hands. And because my husband and I are walking together on a rocky road right now, he could empathize very easily with me. We wiped our tears with sweet and sour sauce stained napkins and then reached for our fortune cookies.

God is everywhere. Even inside fortune cookies.

We couldn’t help but laugh out loud about that ‘God-wink’ right there in the restaurant.

A little taste of the joy surely to come.

 

 

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