On July 27, 1943, Colonel Joseph Duckworth and Lieutenant Ralph O’Hair were out to prove a point. They’d been ribbed by their men about the frailty of their AT-6 Texan compared with the top fighters the U.S. had to offer. There was a hurricane moving ashore and the bet was made for them to fly their plane into the hurricane and back out again to prove it was a reliable, sturdy plane.
Approaching the storm at a height of 4,000-9,000 feet, the air became very turbulent. Col. Duckworth described it as “being tossed about like a stick in a dog’s mouth.” They kept on flying through torrents of rain with the horrendous wind that slammed into their plane.
At last they broke through into the eye of the storm. They hit the center of the hurricane and suddenly the sky was filled with bright clouds while darker clouds of rain surrounded them on all sides. There was peace and calm while all around was tempest and chaos.
This is what joy is.
It is the calm in the center of your storm.
Webster’s will define joy as experiencing great pleasure or delight. This is pretty close to happiness, which is a state of well-being and contentment.
Each person could come up with their own definition of joy amidst trials, unique to their circumstances. To me, joy is not plastering a smile on your face when inside you are falling apart. It is not spouting that everything is fine when your heart is breaking in two. It is not maintaining a constantly cheery countenance when your spouse has just walked out on you.
Instead, I have found that joy is a calm assurance that God is in control.
It is the eye of your storm. It is where God and you meet while your life is crumbling at your feet. When life with its chaos and tempests is swirling around you, God fills you with His peace.
He becomes the eye of your storm. It is He who becomes your joy.
You’re probably thinking how poetic and beautiful that sounds, but is it possible to get there? Can I truly have a calm belief in God when life wants to pull me down?
Is it possible to have joy when debts are piling up and creditors are calling every day? Can I truly have peace in the chaos that comes from the diagnosis of cancer? How is a person to “be thankful in all things” when they’ve just put their child in the grave?
Remember that we cannot control the waves that wash over us in this ocean called Life. But we can decide if we will sink or swim.
Galatians 5:22 lists joy as one of the fruits of the Spirit. Fruit doesn’t happen overnight. It takes a long time for a fruit tree to mature enough to bear fruit. So it is with joy. It takes time to develop joy in the midst of trials. And as we all know, trials hurt.
But many times it is that gut-wrenching hurt which drives us to our God – to the very center of our storm.
To be continued …
Linking to Consider the Lilies.