2 Things you need for real joy

1 JohnChemo is hard, and each person’s struggle is different.  I hurt for people who lose their hair.  They get so sick that they need to isolate themselves.  I thank God that I am not in those places right now.

My struggle often looks like this.  A few days before I am scheduled to start chemo, I get moody and irritable.  I dislike the anticipation.  It doesn’t help that I have to deal with the specialty pharmacy which has often caused problems.  They are supposed to get the prescription from the doctor, make arrangements with me to send chemo pills out, and get them sent on the same day we discussed, charge the insurance, and then charge me what the insurance didn’t pay.  I have dealt with them taking money when they don’t have permission.  In January my chemo was delayed, because of billing problems.  They have scheduled a delivery, and then not delivered because of they didn’t have the prescription.  I even received medication from them that I didn’t request, and then received a bill.

About two or three days after I start chemo, I feel so weak.  I cannot survive the day without at least one nap (and sometimes more).  One night I went to sleep after I took the chemo (about 10:30 p.m., Kevin woke me up about 11:30 a.m., because he had a question that could not wait.  Even when I am awake, I don’t have the energy to do all that I want to do.

For me, the worst part of the entire experience is the gastrointestinal pain.  My doctor has recommend some over-the-counter product that helps.  If you take too much of these “helps”, it causes different problems.  It is a balancing game that I still haven’t won.

And then when you are finally done and you start to live life again, it feels like you are behind, but you still don’t have all of your energy back.  You have to work very hard to catch up and get ahead, because it will all start again in 23 days. Tick tock… Do you feel the clock, because I do? I am grateful, because I believe I only need to do two more rounds.

As I type this, I want to delete it all.  I feel like I am just complaining (which I believe isn’t beneficial), but I want you to understand how 1 John has come to life for me.  In 1 John 1:4, John writes, “These things we write, so that our joy may be made complete.”

If you study 1 John, “these things” that bring joy are not situational.  I am not precisely sure what he had in mind, but I notice two concepts in his writing: the word of Life (Jesus Christ) and fellowship with the Father, the Son, and other Christians.

I truly believe that unconditional joy only comes from Jesus.  Happiness comes and goes, but Jesus’s joy can come and stay.  If that is not the case for you, John is the writer for you.  The gospel of John is one of the best books to read if you want a relationship with Jesus, and 1st, 2nd and 3rd John are excellent if you need reassurance of your faith.

If you are confident you are saved, but you are not experiencing Jesus’s joy, are you experiencing Christian fellowship?  Are you spending time with the Father in the Word?  Are you spending time with the Son through prayer? Are you fellowshipping and contributing to others that share the faith?  When chemo has been the hardest, I have noticed that fellowship is what I have been missing.

What do you think John means by “these things”?  What allows you to experience Jesus’ joy?  When your life isn’t full of joy, what are you missing?

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