Trusting God and Choosing Joy
The Lord is my strength and my shield;
in him my heart trusts;
so I am helped, and my heart exults,
and with my song I give thanks to him. Psalm 28:7
This passage reminds me of one of my dearest friends, who passed away last year after a three-year battle with stage IV lung cancer. Her name was Star, and never was a name more befitting of a person. Although tiny in stature, she had a huge, sparkling personality. We became friends during college and remained close after graduation, staying in touch over the years despite living many miles apart.
It took almost a year of mounting symptoms and missed diagnoses before doctors finally found a large tumor in Star’s lungs. By this point, the cancer had spread. A wife and a mother of two, she was not quite 50 years old. She had never smoked a day in her life. It was simply not fair. Star had every reason to feel hopeless, distraught, and angry. Instead, not long after her diagnosis, she shared with me a song by King & Country called “Joy,” quoting the lyrics: “I choose joy!” She said she had made a conscious decision to turn the rest of her life over to God, trusting Him completely, allowing Him to be her strength and her shield throughout whatever suffering almost certainly lay ahead.
In doing so, she achieved a sense of peace. She also gave a great gift to everyone who knew her.
Although social media has its drawbacks, Star used it to regularly share what she called “GratiTuesday” and “Thankful Thursday” posts, in which she praised God and gave thanks for blessings big and small. She wanted everyone to recognize the love of God all around them and to learn to choose joy, even during the worst of times. It wasn’t always easy. As she once told me, “It’s not like I sit around feeling joyful all day. It’s hard to choose joy when you’re in pain.” Yet, right up until her dying day, she was a shining example of how to do this.
Dear Lord, help me to trust that even through life’s difficulties, you are always with me, bringing me strength and peace. Help me to always recognize and be grateful for the many blessings you provide, and help me to choose joy every day. Amen.
The people of Grace share their favorite bible stories for the 2023 Lenten Devotional: I Love to Tell the Story. Each day's devotional will be automatically posted so come back daily after 7 am for a new reflection.