Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Finding Real Joy

It is hard to be grateful when you are looking into the jaws of mind-bending pain. Chronic illness, a heart attack, a terrible car accident, caring for a developmentally disabled child, facing betrayal and loneliness. These tough times make you want to give up and throw in the towel. You try to overcome, but the exhaustion destroys your energy and hope. You try to pray, but the pain interrupts your concentration. You want to give up.
The topics of fear and hopelessness, depression and suffering, loneliness and worry are issues that author, Joni Eareckson Tada, can speak to personally: A diving accident in 1967, when she was 17, left her a quadriplegic. She has lived 45 years in a wheelchair and she has experienced her share of ups and downs. “But,” she says, “oh, the difference the grace of God has made in my life.”
Let Joni tell you her secrets to peace and joy, despite her wheelchair. She has spent decades studying the Word of God. She knows that God does not enjoy seeing your suffering. He has compassion for you and gives you many ways to deal with life’s pain so that you can have peace.
She has taken her most important insights on thankfulness and joy and encapsulated them into this 14-page pamphlet. Whether you or a loved one is suffering. This pamphlet will bring you comfort.
In A Thankful Heart in a World of Hurt, author Joni Eareckson Tada tackles questions such as:
  • How can I really give thanks for all things?
  • How can I cultivate a grateful spirit?
  • What was the Apostle Paul’s secret to a grateful heart? (He had been beaten, stoned, whipped, starved, shipwrecked and betrayed by people he thought were friends.)
  • How is it possible to “Rejoice in the Lord always”?
This colorful pamphlet gives God’s answers to the biggest questions.
You need this if —
  • you are in pain and need encouragement,
  • you have a friend who needs words of comfort,
  • you are a pastor or church counselor, or
  • you lead a discussion group or home fellowship.
“The Lord loves us and he has given us his Word to help us through. Let me share the secrets to joy and happiness I’ve found.”

Questions for personal reflection or group discussion:
  1. Read Panel 1 – The box on this page contains three mistakes people make when going through suffering. How have you seen these make a person’s life worse, not better?
  2. Read Panel 2, including the Bible passages in the box. Often we don’t think about God’s power and nature. In what way do they inspire us to gratitude?
  3. Read Panels 3-5. How is it possible that our afflictions were “designed for our good,” when they seem to be just the opposite? What was the Apostle Paul’s secret to a grateful heart?
  4. Read Panel 6 and discuss the idea of sacrifice and suffering and gratitude in the life of the woman in the story.
  5. Read Panel 7 and spend time writing a list of 25 blessings you have.
  6. Read Panels 8-9. How could the apostle Paul possibly be joyful despite being in jail? How can crippling suffering actually make us more powerful for God’s kingdom?
  7. Read Panels 10-11. How do Jesus’ sufferings compare with yours?
  8. Read Panels 12-13. How can we redefine happiness?

No comments: