Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Count It All Joy

A Scripture I have been pondering lately is James 1:2:

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, ..." NIV

We all face trials — sometimes daily. Sometimes at the end of the day when I am getting in bed, I feel I have been in a battle all day. I lie down in the dark and consider the day, the choices I made amidst the weariness of a difficult day. A book titled Things That Go Bump in the Night, originally published in 1923, tells of the shadows of the night that frighten us.

So as I lay there in the dark reviewing my day, I begin to worry about conversations I had that did not go the way I had hoped, or frustration I had with my work, or a problem I am facing that seems to have no solution. The quiet and darkness of the night tend to bring out the worst scenarios – all the “I wish I had said ... or I wish I had done... ” thoughts. But on a good night, battle-weary, I am able to remember it is God’s Word that has the final say. It is what God says that matters. And if I quickly go to Him in prayer He reminds me:

  • That I am His and He has this
  • That His solutions are not of this world
  • That trials are opportunities to dig deep within to find His supernatural, His joy

He whispers in the dark of the night...

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, ..." James 1:2 NIV 

He reminds me that His grace pours into my thirsty soul and expands its capacity to receive His joy amid the trials of life.

Friends, this is the key. Trials are opportunities to dig deeper wells in our soul; wells that have the capacity to take in more of Christ’s life – the life that modeled how to rise above the challenges and trials and find the place of obedience to God.

James is writing to the 12 dispersed tribes and encouraging them to keep the faith during their trials: that these trials produce steadfastness:

"Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." James 1:2-4 ESV

We live in stressful times. The world is rapidly changing and as Christians, we recognize we are “no longer in Kansas.” In the movie The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy finds herself (in her dream) far away from home. She is frightened and stressed as she determines to find her way back to Kansas. Our changing world seems strange to us. I did not grow up worrying about terrorism, global warming, or loss of our moral compass. I want to find my way back to a safer place – a place without these trials.

But God is still on the throne. He is not asleep on the job when we experience trials that threaten to destroy us. No, He is there offering an exchange. Walk through the trials and He will be with us every step of the way; and in the process, supernatural joy will rise up and steadfastness will be the fruit. And then His promise – that we will be complete, lacking in nothing!

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. Isaiah 43:2 NIV

Copyright © 2017 Joanne Ellison. Used by permission.

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