Choosing Joy When It Hurts

16 Jan

Doctor's Kit“Doctor Carver was old and feeble, but he still made house calls. One afternoon he was called to the Tuttle house because Mrs. Tuttle was in terrible pain. The doctor came out of the bedroom just moments after he’d gone in and asked Mr. Tuttle, ‘Do you have a hammer?’

A puzzled Mr. Tuttle went to the garage, and returned with a hammer. The doctor thanked him and went back into the bedroom. A moment later, Dr. Carver came out and asked, ‘Do you have a chisel?’ Mr. Tuttle complied with the request. In the next ten minutes, Dr. Carver asked for and received a pair of pliers, a screwdriver and a hacksaw.

The last request finally got to Mr. Tuttle. He asked, ‘What are you doing to my wife?’

‘So far, not a thing.’  replied old Doctor Carver. ‘I still haven’t gotten my instrument bag open!’ *

When I (Dawn) saw Dr. Carver’s first request, for a hammer, I remembered something I read by  Christian comedian Ken Davis .

“Deciding to choose joy doesn’t mean we pretend that life isn’t hard,” Davis wrote. “Joy never says, ‘I just love beating myself on the thumb with a hammer because it feels so good when I stop!’ Joy says, ‘Yeah, that hurt’ …

“We need to see that just because life is difficult doesn’t mean there are no more reasons to laugh.” **

I love Pam Farrel’s story about how so much was going wrong at the same time in her family’s lives that she didn’t know how to answer people when they said, “Hi. How are you?” She eventually embraced a quick, positive response:  “Choosin’ Joy!” That became the opening slogan for the Seasoned Sisters groups (for women over 40) that Pam established around the country.

Pam choosing joy didn’t lessen her family’s struggles, but it did reflect a heart that trusts in God and moves forward in confidence, believing that He is in control. And as Ken Davis explained, that “doesn’t mean there are no more reasons to laugh!”

The Bible says that Jesus, the perfecter of our faith, endured the cross with joy (Hebrews 12:2). How could that be possible? He could endure with joy because of His sure hope in the Father, and that the Father was providing salvation for mankind through His sacrifice on the cross.

John Piper says, “hope is the key to joy in tribulation, and joy is the key to endurance.” (See Romans 12:12 and Ephesians 1:15-23.) Tribulation “does not destroy joy,” Piper said. “It drives the roots of joy down deep into hope. … I will let the tribulation drive the roots of my joy down into unshakable, blood-bought hope ~ the riches of God’s glorious inheritance among all the saints.”

So when times get tough, Friends, it’s OK to recognize the pain ~ to recognize the source of your struggle or tribulation. But then, turn to God in prayer and rest your hope in Jesus. He  will help you endure with joy.

Choose joy!


** Ken Davis (Gen. Ed.),  Happily Ever Laughter (Tyndale House Publishers, 2010), pp. 2-3.


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