We Can Choose Joy

"Take things by the bright handle," my mother used to tell me.

It is true that many situations can be a source of either joy or sorrow. Two people can be victims of the same accident. For one, it will be a source of resentment, but for the other, a source of gratitude.

Some become bitter as they grow older; others, whose lives seem harder, exude joy. Taking things by the "bright handle" involves inner choices of the heart.

My friend Ruby commented, "As we grow older, it's easy to begin thinking, Well, I only have a few more years left, and begin to feel sorry for ourselves or to feel down, but each morning when I awaken I think, This is the day the Lord hath made. I will be glad and rejoice in it."

"Would you know who is the greatest saint in the world?" asked William Law. "It is not he who prays most, or fasts most; it is not he who gives most alms...but it is he who is always thankful to God, who wills everything that God wills, who receives everything as an instance of God's goodness, and has a heart always ready to praise God for it."

My mother had such a heart. After she learned she had cancer, for much of the next year and a half before she went to heaven, we had the privilege of caring for her. One day when she could no longer eat, I was helping her take a few sips of water. "Your water is so good!" she exclaimed, weakly but sincerely. She once told me there were few times she didn't feel like praising the Lord.

Mother had long ago made an inner choice to "rejoice in the Lord always" (Philippians 4:4).
Dear Jesus, thank You for offering us true joy when we can give thanks even adverse circumstances.

"Yet I will rejoice in the Lord. I will be joyful in God my Savior" (Habakkuk 3:18).