James 1: 2-3
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.”
Life + Trials = Pure Joy
How does that add up? According to the world we live in it doesn’t. Why would the writer of James even think to suggest pure joy as our response to facing trials that test our faith? If you have time to read James 1:1-27 you will discover that James recognizes the benefit of the different trials in our life as a way of producing God focused perseverance that will achieve three things; mature us in our faith, make us complete in Christ, and receivers of the crown of life prepared for those who love the Lord. Our challenges in life have kingdom purpose even when we can’t see clearly while in the testing of our faith. Let’s not miss out on the benefits found in persevering through faith in Christ.
Would you agree that life is full of many kinds of trials? You might be in the middle of one right now and thinking to yourself this concept is crazy. I’m supposed to be joyful in this! You don’t know what is going on in my life…..God can’t really expect me to be joyful! Your right I don’t know what you are experiencing and I pray that you will find peace and joy in the Lord as we continue to explore this counter-culture call to seek after pure joy even in our storms.
What does it look like to either face a storm that is brewing or walk through a storm with pure joy? I have a dear friend who I have had the privilege of watching and at times walking with her through a hurricane of life’s trials with her children. I compare it to a hurricane because the intensity would change based on the winds and how close or far away she was from the eye of the storm. When I first met her I was drawn to her warm smile and fun and relaxed attitude toward life. There wasn’t any immediate outward appearance of distress. She was joyful. When I became aware of the intensity of her trials with her children I was taken off guard. It was evident that the Lord was her strength and peace as she weathered the hurricane that was trying to destroy her family. This storm hit land fall when one of her children began making a few bad choices in friends then it led down a path of disappearances, destruction of property, detention centers, and the waves and storm surge created from those events crashed down on the relationships within the family. Just as she was able to get up to assess the damages from one wave the next child started down their own destructive path. As the storm howled and beat on her family she fought to subdue the storm of emotions within her own heart. Why God? What did I do? How did I fail? Why won’t they stop? Where are you God? I should have…… Why didn’t I……. How can I go on….. Her only peace was found in her quiet time with the Lord and it was there that she found her pure joy in him that strengthens her as her storm rages on. Her joyful verse is Nehemiah 8:10b “And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”
My dear friend has been an inspiration to me to choose the pure joy of Christ to strengthen me and sustain me through my own trials in life. She continues to preserver through what feels like a never-ending storm. Her faith and trust in the Lord keep her anchored. Her joy encourages others to trust and builds their faith and their love for the Lord. She has defiantly kept her lamp lit and shinning brightly through her storm. I’m so thankful for her light shining into my life and leading me to the strength of the Lord.
Many times the trials of life leave us feeling alone and in the dark. When that happens we can turn the light on and strengthen our faith by remembering to turn to the truth of God’s word for encouragement. Psalm 119: 105 reminds us that the word of the Lord is a lamp that shines on our path as we walk with the Lord through life. So if we choose to keep our eyes on how big and faithful the Lord is then our circumstances will return to their proper perspective, small in the hands of God. We are then able to consider life and it’s challenges through the lens of pure joy. Don’t let your light burn out stay connected to the light of the world and our faith builder, Christ, and preserver as you shine brightly for him. Does this mean we will be beaming with a smile all the time as we weather our storms? No, it means that we can remain steady in the storm, anchored in our hope, able to trust we are secure in our heavenly Father’s care and able to be real with those who genuinely seek to come along side us. When we are steady in our relationship with Christ it shines through when we find it hard to smile.
Life + Trials = Pure Joy~ Make it true in your life!
Be Alert~ Stay Strong~ Pray Always
Welcome if you are joining me for the first time. This post is part of my weekly series “Wisdom Wellspring”. Take a moment to visit the page to learn about the heart behind the series and view previous posts.
Proverbs 4:23 “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”