Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. James 1:2-3 (NIV)
Recently, God has been teaching me about joy in spite of pain, sorrow and trials. It’s a new concept to me. Before I was set free, I could ignore the pain and fool myself that everything was fine. God doesn’t want us to shove our emotions down or deny our pain. Rather, he wants us to see the joy in spite of our pain. Sometimes the tears that roll down my face are tears of joy and sometimes sorrow. No longer in denial, I can’t seem to stop their flow.
Reading Paula’s heartfelt post about joy on Grace Reign got me thinking more about this particular type of joy and I’ve framed some precious, painful memories that bring me joy.
Christmas Eve 1996, my precious Gramma T. lay in the hospital dying of cancer. She had but a few days. I flew in from out of state to be by her side. Gramma directed me to lie down on the bed beside her. “I knew you’d come,” she stated as she stroked my hair. I was eight years old again and losing one of the most important people in my life, but there was intense joy.
I didn’t leave the hospital when Gramma was dying. I wanted to be there for her birth into heaven the way she was for my birth into this world. The morning Gramma died, I woke up for no apparent reason. Our eyes met and we shared a smile that said, “I love you.” Two hours later, she was gone. Precious joy.
When Gramma was first diagnosed, my then twelve-year-old daughter said, “Mom, she isn’t dying, she’s moving.” Joy. After Gramma moved, we went out to breakfast and told funny love filled stories. More joy.
“I wish I could trade places with you,” I told him tearfully.
“Ah, Mom, you couldn’t handle it,” he countered.
That’s when I knew he would be all right.