Each of us has some control over finding joy (Truman G. Madsen)

“For it is not chance but choice that is involved here. Each of us has some control over finding joy. To paraphrase Elder Marion D. Hanks: “No matter how we live, there will be pain in this world. But misery is optional.” Think about it. Christ is against selfishness and sin – not because He is the giant spoilsport, but the other way around. He is against sin and selfishness because He is against despondency and melancholy and morbidity. He is against the shrinking of our capacity for fulfillment. On this He is the world’s leading expert. He knows. As the book of Hebrews has it, “For the joy that was set before him [He] endured the cross” (Hebrews 12:2). Whose joy did He envision? Ours. He saw beyond our sins and stupidities and our clumsy mistakes. He knows what we have within us to become. And having paid the awful price in blood, He is entitled to alert us to reality.

This changes the kinds of questions we ask of life. Instead of “What’s in it for me?” we ask, “What’s in it for those I love or should love?” Instead of “Why am I having such a hard time?” we ask, “Am I growing through my hard times? Can I see any meaning or purpose for the good of the kingdom in my struggle?” Instead of “How soon can I get what I want?” we ask, “Can I train my desires to be a better friend of Christ?” All these questions become prayers: “And however long it takes, dear Lord, stay with me.” 


Truman G. Madsen, The Joy of the Lord is Your Strength, BYU Devotional Address, November 2000

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