Posts Tagged ‘joy’

. . the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

As I look back on my year of breast cancer treatment I have many happy memories that have pushed the memory of the grief to the background.

Had you told me at the start of my journey that would happen, I would probably have thought you were just offering me empty words of hope.

Another quote from C.S. Lewis rings true:

Bridge players tell me there must be some money on the game ‘or else people won’t take it seriously’. Apparently it’s like that. Your bid – for God or no God, for a good God or the Cosmic Sadist, for eternal life or nonentity – will not be serious if nothing much is staked on it.  And you will never discover how serious it was until the stakes are raised horribly high; until you find that you are playing not for counters or for sixpences but for every penny you have in the world. Nothing less will shake a man . . .  out of his merely verbal thinking and his merely notional beliefs. He has to be knocked silly before he comes to his senses. Only torture will bring out the truth. Only under torture does he discover it himself.

A Grief Observed p 33

And so when the stakes have been horribly high for me I have discovered some deep truths that I could learn no other way.

I have been able to explore myself, my faith and my life. Being forced to move my thinking to the potential end of my life makes it much easier to see the difference between what is important and what is urgent.

And a big discovery is that little things matter a lot.

Yesterday on the radio I heard a discussion about what makes us happy. Most of the debate was about how much money we need to have, and then one man phoned in with a gem of a comment. He gave a 5-step framework for generating happiness. Some simple advice on how to engage with life.

  • Connect – Don’t isolate yourself. Reach out to other people and engage with them in what they are doing.
  • Be Active – Move your body as much as you can. Find some form of exercise that you enjoy and enjoy it.
  • Be aware – Move your focus of attention from yourself to what is happening in the lives of those around you and elsewhere. Take a bigger picture view of community.
  • Give – Your time, your attention, your money . . . to make a difference for others.
  • Keep Learning – Be curious, look at things differently, explore new things.

His list gives a good starting point for anyone facing a journey through grief.

We can learn a lot from the little sparrows and how much God values them.


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. . . inexpressible and glorious joy

These words ring in my head since I posted yesterday about Happiness – can it last?

There must be more to happiness than simply being aware of and enjoying the present moment. A happiness like that is real but fragile.

I want to have a robust perspective on life – one that does not insulate me in a protective bubble.

I want to come to terms with myself, my relationships, my fellow human beings and what we do to each other.

And there are bigger issues – what about the terrible suffering that people, communities and nations endure?

Suffering is real.

Who and where is God in all this? Does it matter?

Am I stretching this too far? These things matter a lot to me, and I think they do to most of us.

The apostle Peter talks about an inexpressible and glorious joy. He spent critical years learning with Jesus. He suffered personally and he witnessed the opposition, abuse, rejection and crucifixion of Jesus. And yet he speaks about hope and joy . .

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. . . .  In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Mark Driscoll, preaching pastor at Mars Hill Church, gave an excellent teaching series from the book of Philippians on JOY in Suffering, Anxiety, Loneliness, Temptation, Conflict, Exhaustion, Poverty. Log in and listen to the one that is most relevant to your experience – I found the one on suffering really helpful.

This is about our spirituality – the salvation of our souls.

I am reading about soul-training, the stuff of getting to know God. Next week I will begin to share some of the things I am learning.

Those of you who study theology and philosophy will know far more than me about all of this – please join in and share your knowledge with us all. 🙂

Enjoy the Bank Holiday weekend. I pray you will experience many moments of joyous happiness and that God will begin to show you the inexpressible and glorious joy that you can be yours to sustain you through the challenges of life.

Can anyone suggest some music to go with the picture and text above?

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