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. . James 1:2
It is officially December and the season to be jolly. TV commercials and Hallmark movies remind us all Christmas stories end with: “and they lived happily ever after”. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if not only Christmas stories but all of our circumstances ended just the way we dreamed they would? When things go our way, it is easy to feel joyful. But joy is the furthest thing from our minds when betrayal, loss, or suffering are written into our story.
At first glance, it seems cruel when James asks us to consider it “pure joy” when we face trials. Nothing about hardship makes us want to sing Fa, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la. Yet, if we take a second look, the Word is not asking us to “feel happy”.
God is encouraging us to consider where sun rays of joy might be in the middle of our current mess.
Unlike happiness, joy is not a temporary emotion. Nor is it dependent on circumstances. The “pure joy” James speaks of is present right in the middle of our discouragement and allows us to persevere because it is rooted in trusting God .
I went on a cruise with the fabulous ladies in my Zumba® Class a few weeks ago. We danced at sea, recharged for a few days, and experienced “pure joy” . The warrior women on the cruise were in all stages of life with health concerns, wayward children, desperate marriages, financial challenges and the recent loss of loved ones. Resting, sun, and fun existed right along with the worries from home. We had a group Bible study on last day of the trip entitled “The Faith to Continue”. There was not a dry eye in the room during our closing prayer as women verbalized their prayer requests. Pain and unfulfilled dreams were mixed with community, love and a determination to trust God…pure joy.
As the holiday season rushes in, take some time to consider (examine, contemplate, ponder) where glimpses of joy might be in the middle of your situation.
Remember, “pure joy” during hard times is not about feeling joyful.
Pure joy is choosing to trust God enough to handle things the way we prayed they would go or accepting however they end up…knowing God redeems time and has our best interests at heart.
In February, I had the awesome opportunity to participate in a photo shoot for Cross Training Couture. The sweatshirt I am wearing is one of my favorites and goes right along with today’s post! I LOVE fitness clothes with a message AND a great fit! Check them out!