Hi again, everyone!
Is there anything more fun, more joyful than to puddle jump? To leap into a puddle full of mud and water and delight in the mess? Well oddly enough, it is this Joy…this delight that God wants us to have, because we trust Him.
Today I want to share a word that came to me while doing my devotions this morning. I am reading the book of James and this morning I began, as one would expect at the beginning and only got as far as the first 4 verses. After the opening Greetings…James hits me right at the heart with something with which all of us have struggled.
It reads, “Count it pure (ALL) JOY, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-4
Well that little statement, “Count it pure (all) Joy.” really is the problem! I must say that there are and have been things in my life that I can hardly call worthy of Joy…that indeed, I have not handled with any type of joy. I bet you have too!
Let’s start with the simple, little everyday things like…socks on the floor, beside the laundry hamper instead of in it or dishes on the table instead of in the kitchen sink or better still…in the drying rack! Well you might say that these are little inconsequential things that should not or could not remove or even impact our joy…but added together, they do. But our Lord says to count these little things as Joy…hmmm…I guess with a small effort, I can do that.
Ok…starting today, this very minute, I am determined not to let these little things steal my Joy (get behind me Satan…I’ve conquered this one!)
But what if…the Joy Stealing Event isn’t so trivial…what if it involves the loss of a loved one or the slow lingering death of another or being Stuck on the Rocks of a fast flowing river. These things are life changing…these things are life stealing…does God really want me to Count these as Joy?
The clear answer from scripture is a resounding…”YES!” God says right in this passage that there is a purpose in trials that is very important to our growth. We need to aquire perseverance so that we can become mature and complete. God is intimately interested in our growth and it takes a lifetime of big and little trials to produce that growth. God doesn’t often tell us why we need a particular trial in order to grow, but He does say that He will give us wisdom (understanding) if we ask…in faith.
I have had many adventures in life…not some of the tragedies that others have had but life threatening events that have tested and tried my faith…and as promised…have helped me to grow. Check out some of these events in my book, “Stuck on the Rocks, again.” Did I have Joy at the time of these events…no, I can’t say that I was rejoicing when I was stuck in the middle of a raging river with my canoe bending around a rock…but afterwards…when the waters were once again, calm…I reflected and smiled.
God is at work in my life and He is at work in yours. Do not give in to the temptation of letting the events of life steal your JOY, but approach each new day with an attitude of JOY and persevere…because our loving, heavenly Father in is Control and we prove our belief in this by showing our JOY.
Joy is the echo of God’s Love in us…share it today!