Count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect and complete work that you may be perfect and complete lacking nothing–James 1:2-4
What is Joy?
Joy isn’t like happiness which is based upon happenings or whether things are going well or not. No, joy remains even amidst the suffering. Joy is not happiness. Joy is an emotion that’s acquired by the anticipation, acquisition or even the expectation of something great or wonderful. (adapted from an article by Jack Wellman on Patheos.com)
The joy of the Lord is your strength–Nehemiah 8-10
After relocating to Arizona, I began watching my Milwaukee church online. I prayed that God would lead me to a local church. I started visiting multiple churches but I never felt “satisfied”. I always found something that I didn’t like about the ministries. I guess I was comparing them to my church in Milwaukee–that’s never a good thing because God had told me He would do a “new thing”! One Sunday I decided to visit a church I had passed on multiple occasions as it was about 2 miles from my home. Living Word Bible Church was a nondenominational, multicultural assembly. I have always loved praise and worship time and they had one of the best worship teams I had experienced since moving to Arizona. After several months of “visits”, I finally joined. I began to feel connected to a church family again and I believed this would be my new home!
Ronnie’s last day at work was April 30, 2008 and he was placed on a short-term leave of absence. Over the next couple of months, Ronnie was on the couch with a hoodie pulled over his head–he was always cold! Sleepless nights became his pattern.
From April to September, Ronnie struggled with one health “issue” after another–it was relentless! He was prescribed multiple drugs for pain–they didn’t help and two hospitalizations for kidney failure. Despite these “interventions” still no diagnosis. I prayed and refused to believe the enemy’s lies. His voice was echoed from the most unusual places–well-meaning friends and family! I stopped taking calls or talking to anyone who did not agree with God’s word! I asked my church family to pray for his healing. One Sunday, I went to the altar for prayer and was given a prophetic word that Ronnie’s sickness was not unto death and that there was much work for him to do–thank you Jesus!!! I found comfort in that word and it sustained me! I used it to encourage Ronnie too!
One night in September about 2am, I heard a loud crash–I jumped out of bed and found Ronnie slumped on the floor. He said he became dizzy while walking to the bathroom, fell against the wall then hit the floor. I enfolded him in my arms as he asked “what is wrong with me?” All I could do was cry and pray.
Shortly after this episode, Ronnie could not sleep at all and one night his body just “passed out”. While he was out, he started dreaming. Here is an excerpt from his e-book, My Testimony: My Journey To and Through God’s Healing, of his account of what he experienced:
One night, after a couple of days with NO sleep at all, not even restless sleep, I just sort of passed out on the couch. While I was out, I started dreaming. I was back on the plane over Holland, looking at the same, city, canals, greenhouses, and that HUMONGOUS supertanker, belching black smoke as it plied the Atlantic.
In my dream, however, Sharon was sitting next to me and I was pointing out the sights. Earlier in this testimony, I shared with you that Sharon was not with me on that trip to Europe. She was in Hawaii. In my dream she was on the plane sitting next to me.
Suddenly, the plane began to soundlessly split right down the middle of the aisle from the pilot’s cabin back. Just as suddenly, there was no one on the plane but Sharon and I. I started telling her to try to guide her body toward the shoreline and maybe splash down in shallow water and not harm herself. She never said a word and didn’t panic. I didn’t panic either. I turned around to check the plane. When I turned back to Sharon, she was sitting on the other side of the aisle that had split.
The plane finished splitting apart and Sharon’s side silently banked away. My half of the plane turned upside down and I fell out! I was hurtling towards the earth at tremendous speed. (My mind flashed back to Wiley Coyote, of the cartoon Roadrunner series, where Wiley miscalculates his attack on the Roadrunner and bounds off a cliff of several hundred, maybe a thousand feet. As he falls, the earth seems as if it is “rushing up” to meet him. That’s how I felt!)
As I was falling, thinking “Okay, this is it?” Then I prayed, “If this is your will, God, let it be done.” I had been praying that for a couple of months trying to find peace with my illness.
Suddenly, almost unbelievably, I heard, “I WILL TAKE CARE OF YOU.” My fall started slowing down to the point that I was almost floating in the air. I saw a church steeple with very heavy ropes, much bigger than one could find on any sea vessel, all around the top. I “floated” down to the steeple and landed on the ropes. The landing was so soft, it was like being gently laid down on a bed of cotton. I could hold on without any problem. I looked down and saw a bald old man in bib overalls, with a handkerchief hanging out of his back pocket, putting up a ladder and coming to get me. THEN I WOKE UP.
Ronnie later told me that after his dream, he was not afraid of anything and had no doubt that God would take care of him. While he wasn’t getting any better, he knew that he would get better eventually and that his life would be spared.
Joy is a permanent possession while happiness is fleeting. Joy stays, happiness comes and goes…(adapted from an article by Jack Wellman on Patheos.com)