Defiant Joy

  • Sept. 18, 2015
  • #8710

We can choose joy by trusting in God when pain, disappointment or discouragement threaten to overwhelm us.

Defiant Joy

Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada and I’ve got joy that’s defiant.

I’ve also got joy that’s a choice. I decide on it virtually every time I am faced with a day of chronic pain, because pain is the big joy-thief. Pain does everything it can to rob you of your joy in the Lord. I mean, as seasoned as I am, as much as I’ve learned to lean on God, there are days my pain will nag at me, trying its best to get me off course. I can even hear it say to me: “Yeah, yeah, you say that God is good, but come on look at you, you’re paralyzed with quadriplegia; you’re in a wheelchair, you can hardly do anything for yourself; and on top of all that, you feel that knife into your hip and lower back. That’s me, your old friend pain, just reminding you that you’ve got nothing to be happy about. Nothing! If you stand back and look at yourself, you’ve got to admit it, Joni, you’re a miserable, sorry sight. So go on, curse God and die.”

That’s what pain tries to tell me. But you know what? I have learned not to listen. What’s more, I’ve learned to fight back with joy. I take joy, the Holy Spirit’s gift to me, and I hold it up in front of my pain and say, “Look, I may be wasting away on the outside, but inside I am being renewed. I’m being renewed by the promise of my salvation; by the promise of God’s grace; by the promise that my godly response to you, pain, will win me a rich reward in heaven. I have the joy of the Lord and he is my strength. I have joy that is real and rock solid, unshakable and unmovable, all because of Jesus and his promises. So you take that, pain.”

When someone holds onto joy in spite of everything, I call that “defiant joy.” A person with defiant joy refuses to be quenched by negative voices or intimidated by overwhelming odds. As followers of Jesus, we have the greatest example anyone could imagine. Hebrews chapter 12 says that “for the joy set before Jesus, he endured the cross, scorning at shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” The joy that is born out of suffering is a gladness that is unflinching in the face of discouragement; it is unshakable when pain screams at you to choose doubt and fear. And we would never know just how durable and unflinching the joy of the Lord is, were it not for the way it comes shining through in the face of suffering. Joy is a gift of the Holy Spirit and is far more durable, rigorous, and rugged than most of us realize. So when you pick up your cross every day, choose to trust God in it, because as you do, you will also be choosing joy.

So please, whatever valley you are walking through right now, whatever pain, grief, or disappointment you are facing, choose joy. And pray with me right now by simply agreeing with me, “Lord Jesus, I choose to walk in Your joy today. I am humbled—in awe—to think You would willingly endure betrayal, the terrors of the cross, and the dark stain of all my sin. And somehow, You saw joy beyond it all. You knew that Your suffering would purchase my rescue from death, and open the doors of eternal life for me. So, teach me how to press your promises up against my pain with your wonderfully defiant gift of joy. In the name of our Savior, amen.”

Friend, if you are going through a time of grief, pain, or disappointment and you need a partner in prayer, let us know. Just visit my radio page today at and we will remember you in our prayers here at Joni and Friends. That’s why it’s called “and Friends”. And hey, if you need more inspiration, you just have to go to my blog today at Again, that’s my blog at

Photo: Peace 107

© Joni and Friends


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