I’m able to maintain a sense of inner peace even when there are storms all around me. I questioned myself the other day. Someone else in my situation may not feel this way. How could I be? Then I was reminded that happiness lies within us. The waters may be rising in anticipation of a flood, but you may be content. The flood waters will not “swallow you up.” I remembered, again, that happiness comes from deep within. It doesn’t lie in material things, nor does it lie in your status. It’s not in any labels you add. It comes from within. It’s a permanent happiness you can possess. It’s the one that is reborn every time the temporal happiness ceases to exist.
Whenever you start to feel unhappy, remember that eventually you will return to that place. Let go of worries, fears, selfish desires, pressure, disappointments, or the desire to win! Permanent happiness can only come from within. We are meant to be happy creatures, but culture often teaches us there is a void. We may feel we ‘need to have’ this or that, in order to be fulfilled. Just take a look at the world around us. It’s wonderful to be thankful, and no one would be happy about living in poverty, for example, but really count your blessings, and realize how much you have, you will think about what you are missing much less!
“Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning (Psalm 30:5).”
I strongly believe this to be true. People tell me “you’re so strong” all the time. Perhaps I am; but for me to be here is a part of God’s plan. He controls everything. We have to understand that everything happens by Him and for Him. I think sometimes people have this misconception that they are rewarded because of their effort or hard work and things they do. Good things happen to them. They get surprised when bad things occur. But God allows suffering sometimes.
One of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do was return to school in a wheelchair my senior year in October of 1994. When everyone was thinking of prom and spring break, I was learning how to have a physical challenge. There are things we live through, only by God’s grace. And only God has kept me. He has made me happy.
I finished high school on time. My real friends stayed with me, even if they were few. I learned to drive, still went to college, worked, and even walked! The majority of people with spinal cord injuries don’t walk much at all. Doctors usually say the chances are slim to none. To be able to walk from day-to-day is a blessing. And the best part is, I still have faith.
The beauty is that joy and suffering are interchangeable.
So, I’d like to ask you today—no matter what you’re going through, which will you choose? Joy, or sorrow? I hope you’ll choose joy!
Zina Hermez authored the book Not Without God: A Story of Survival and created the Spinal Cord Injury Solutions! on line website. Zina works as an English Language Instructor, and has been an educator for nearly fifteen years her thousands of students have been from many parts of the world and she’s worked with all ages.
Zina writes articles on faith and overcoming disability and her stories have been featured in Christianity Today, Spinal Cord Injury Zone, SCI Access, newsletters, and medical journals among many other various publications. To learn more about Zina visit http://zinahermez.com.