The Discipline of Joy
By Jennie Allen
I was hurt. Not the kind of hurt I can talk about here – it involves people I love and things that are not mine to share – but my heart was flat broken. I woke up with puffy eyes after four hours of sleep to hear the funniest little whisper from God… a verse I hadn’t read or thought of in years.
… She can laugh at the days to come – Proverbs 31:25
This woman in Proverbs had her allotted share of suffering just like the rest of us, but she could laugh at the future, whatever it held.
It kept ringing in my mind as my command. My choice. After involuntarily crying for most of the day before, to think that joy was mine for the taking… laughter was what He wanted from me. He actually made me laugh (and then start crying again).
As I searched for more of this call growing in me, I got into James 1 where God calls us to “… count it all joy when you fall into various trials (NKJV)” because all this suffering is building something, doing something in us and for God. And then He reminds us later in that chapter that it is all leading to a crown of life… it is all leading to heaven. If my days are few on this planet – and I believe they are – to suffer, to hurt, to cry, to ache is a very, very doable thing.
In fact, if hurting makes me ache for heaven, makes me need God, makes me strong for my few days here, makes me love and empathize with others, makes me less selfish, makes me humble like I should be, then I want to suffer.
And that makes me laugh because I am asking for trouble. I am longing for my few days here to be more than happy and more than easy. So yesterday I laughed. I laughed that I had cried so much. I laughed because God told me to laugh. I laughed that God is not always easy and comfy.
I laughed when I thought about my coming days, about some of the trials we are facing, a lot of them – a consequence of obeying God. Following God is costly. I missed that in Sunday School, but Jesus taught me that it just is. There is certain to be much more hurt. But I could laugh because I can do anything for a few days when heaven stretches out in front of me forever.
Jennie Allen is a Bible teacher who is passionate about inspiring a new generation of women to encounter the invisible God. Raised in a Christian home, Jennie heard about God her entire life but not until high school did she see her need for Him. Since that time she has been teaching groups of girls and young women about her God. Her first Bible study, Stuck: The Places We Get Stuck and the God Who Sets Us Free, will release in October 2011. To sample Stuck, visit www.StuckDVDStudy.com. For more on Jennie, visit www.jennieallen.com.