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How to fight back with joy

Originally published Sunday, 03 May 2015.

{NOTE FROM WENDY: My husband was in the thick of his second diagnosis with cancer when I read that author, Margaret Feinberg, was receiving treatment for breast cancer. Although, she didn’t post about much during her treatment I enjoyed her posts on how to help someone diagnosed with cancer and rejoiced when she received the all clear after treatment. When I was asked if I’d blog to promote her new book, Fight back with Joy, my answer was yes. I thought the best way to do that would be to let Margaret share some of her words from the book. I hope you enjoy them, if you'd like to read more you can buy her new book now from Amazon.}

See, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in what I will create, for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight and its people a joy. I will rejoice over Jerusalem and take delight in my people; the sound of weeping and of crying will be heard in it no more. Isaiah 65:17-19 (NIV) 

“This is Dr. Jones,” the voice said. “Is now a good time?”

No. No, no, no.

As the physician spoke, my head dropped into liquid amber. Time halted. The conversation blurred.



Both masses.


I’m sure he said more, but after carcinoma everything grew fuzzy. After the call, I stared at a wretched souvenir of the conversation: a scrap of paper on which I’d scrawled two recommended surgeons’ names.

Dazed, I beelined to the field house, where Leif was busy preparing the PowerPoint slides.

“I have your microphone ready,” Leif said.

He glanced up. I couldn’t hide my apprehension.

“What’s wrong?”

I took his hand, led him outside where we could be alone, and looked into his sky-blue eyes. I never spoke a word. Leif just knew. He always knows. My eyes are his second language.

He cloaked me in his arms and we stood motionless, knowing we had crossed a threshold through which we could never return. In the warmth of his strong embrace, I won­dered where God was in all of this.

 “What if we fight back with joy?” I said to Leif.

From the day of the diagnosis, I felt compelled to choose a different type of weapon: joy. Such a selection might seem flippant and frivolous. One blunt friend called it “downright odd.” If I had to cry ten thousand tears, I wanted joy to be the companion that carried me through. Joy would not deny the hardship, but would choose to acknowledge and face it no matter what the outcome.

I define joy as a spectrum of emotions, actions, and responses that includes gladness, cheer, happiness, merriment, delighting, dancing, shouting, exulting, rejoicing, laughing, playing, brightening, blessing and being blessed, taking plea­sure in and being well pleased.

The Bible insists that joy is more than a feeling; it’s an action. We don’t just sense joy; we embody it by how we respond to the circumstances before us.

What is the genesis of this joy? I believe that, at its core, joy emanates from the abiding sense of God’s fierce love for us.

The tigerish love of God from which joy comes is foun­dational to faith. God’s love guards us, protects us, grows us, strengthens us, and compels us to walk in greater trust and holiness. This is no passive affection, but a feisty, fiery pledge to grow us into the fullness of Christ. When we embrace this love and cultivate an awareness of it, our hearts are filled with joy.

Such awareness strengthens our resolve that no matter the fight, we face it confident that God is with us and for us. When we fight back with joy, we no longer size the character of God according to our circumstances, but we size our circumstances according to the character of God and his great affection for us.

Practicing defiant joy is the declaration that the darkness does not and will not win. (tweet this)

Perhaps no greater joy has been given to us than through the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus came to take away the sins of the world. Through his sacrifice, everything that stands between God and us is wiped away forever. We bring God and all of heaven great joy when we give ourselves wholly to Christ.

The Son of God crashed into our world with an angel broadcasting, “I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people.” Before leaving our world, Jesus endows the disciples with the promise, “These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.”

Jesus arrives in joy, departs in joy, and calls us to great joy through fellowship with him. The proper response to being drenched in so much wondrous affection is to bring delight to God by offering our lives to him through obedience.

We are destined for joy. (tweet this)

Not only are we founded in joy and created for joy, but we are destined for joy. Consider the following promise at the heart of the book of Isaiah: “See, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in what I will create, for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight and its people a joy. I will rejoice over Jerusalem and take delight in my people; the sound of weeping and of crying will be heard in it no more.”

The joyous creating of God continues to unfold. He has drawn the blueprints for an existence with the defining characteristics of gladness, rejoicing, and delight. One of the greatest promises to a child of God is that this life is not the end of the story.

You are founded in joy, created for joy, and destined for joy. Joy is where you come from. Joy is what you are created to experience. Joy is where you are headed.

Ponder: What area of your life needs you to fight back with joy?

Prayer: Jesus, thank you that you arrive in joy and depart in joy. Help me to find joy in the hard times I’m living through right now. Amen.

Adapted from Fight Back with Joy by Margaret Feinberg. Used with permission. Emphasis mine. 

More about the author of this devotional: 

Margaret Feinberg teaches at churches and conferences including CatalystThrive, and Women of Joy. She was recently named one of 50 women most shaping church and culture by Christianity Today. Her books and Bible studies, including The Organic GodThe Sacred EchoScouting the Divine, and Wonderstruck, have sold nearly a million copies. She lives in Colorado, with her husband, Leif, and their superpup, Hershey. She believes some of the best days are spent in jammies, laughing and being silly.

Buy her book: Fight back with joy or the 6 session bible study kit.

*This post includes affiliate links*

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- This was orginally published on my site in January 2014. To read more devotionals like this go to ilovedevotionals.com