Consider This | In Trouble | Pure Joy
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds… James 1:2
Pure joy. Seriously? Cutoff notices? Breakup texts? Divorce papers? We’re supposed to greet them with joy? That’s impossible. Before we become too cynical toward James for writing this, we need to remember his original audience. First century Christians could teach us a thing or two about trials. They faced actual trials for simply following Jesus. Turning from idol worship to Jesus worship often meant their property was confiscated, children sold as slaves, and they may be thrown to the lions. So how could James challenge them (and us) to consider such suffering a cause for joy?
Fortunately, James does not stop there. He goes on to tell us why we can consider it joy when the plumbing backs up, the debt piles up, or the police show up. We’ll look at that tomorrow. But for today, we need to take a closer look at the word “joy.” We tend to equate it with happiness. They are similar, but not equals. Happiness depends on circumstances. We get a raise, a new car, or a dream vacation and we feel happy. Joy is deeper than that. It is the abiding sense of being right with God despite what we may be facing. Joy reminds us that God is in it. God has not left us. God will bring good from it. It’s like being at your friend’s funeral and remembering a joke he told you. You can laugh even when you’re sad. We may be at the funeral of a job, a relationship, or a dream, but we can consider it joy knowing that God plans to use it for good if we belong to Him.
Final Thought: What if you responded to your next trial with the knowledge that God intends to use it for good? (Gen. 50:20).
Prayer: Father, joy is not my first response when I’m hit with tragedy. But I want it to be. Help me hold everything in this life with loose hands. If you see fit to take it from me, I know you have a good reason. I will trust you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.