I spent some time in El Salvador at an orphanage. The cement block housing surrounded by high fences topped in barbed wire looks more like an institutional compound than a home. A pastor and his wife parent this family of thirty-four children of various ages, including three boys in wheel chairs with MS.
One of the boys, Jose, is tutored at the orphanage because school is too dangerous. With his feet, he quietly scoots his wheelchair about the room but cannot leave without being lifted by one of the older boys. The girls see to his physical needs. His hands, crippled by disease, cannot grasp. He works diligently to simply lift a playing card. It all seems so bleak, but this young man has more joy in the Lord than anyone I have ever met.
Joy is often misunderstood. It is not the delight we feel when things are going the way we want. Joy is the blessing God gives us every day through trials or happy days. Joy is knowing our heavenly Father never deserts us. It is contentment for our souls. Joy is Jose’s face lit with a heavenly glow. His sweet voice raised in holy praise. His soft hand clasped in mine. In the midst of his daily struggle, God has given Jose a purpose to bring joy to those around him. God blessed me by allowing me to meet this young man.
When you are in the middle of the mess of life, remember you can chose to live life in the presence of God’s joy. Look around you. See the simple gifts God gives every day. Know He has a plan. As a Christ follower, live in the very presence of God. Rejoice in it.
(Photo courtesy of office.microsoft.com.)
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