“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.” James 1:2-3. I have been reminding myself of this verse a lot these past few weeks. The trials seem to just keep coming one on top of another, some minor ones that I can look back at and chuckle at, but others not so small. Last month ended with me landing in the hospital unexpectedly for several days with a lot of uncertainties. There were discussions happening around me about possible surgery and complications. I was not sure what all was happening, but God was working and I went home with antibiotics, now I am on the mend. After this I got news that my aunt was diagnosed with what appears to be stage 3 or 4 cancer. We have had so much misinformation in regards to her diagnosis and prognosis, that we really don’t know anything still and she lives too far away to just jump in the car to go for a visit. In the meantime I continue to work full time from home, short on staff and patience ,while my husband and I try to potty train our two-year-old who thinks it’s fun to paint his room with poop during nap time. Then of course there are all the other normal stresses and busyness of the holidays, finances, home renovations, etc. but I wouldn’t call those trials per say. Can you see where this is going? Life is tough and full of trials.
My question has become: how do you consider it joy when everything seems to be falling apart and you feel like you can’t catch a break? That brought me to the question of what is joy? If you search online you will see that the general consensus is that joy is a feeling of great happiness. I don’t know about you, but I can’t say hospitalizations, bad news, and poop explosions bring much happiness to anyone. So I started looking deeper. God’s joy is not the same as worldly joy. It is not something that can be taken from us by the situations we find ourselves in. God’s joy is always available to us and isn’t fleeting. It is something we can choose to accept.
We can count it as joy to suffer trials, because we know that God is using these times to work on us. He is guiding us closer to him, teaching us patience, and molding us to be more like Him. For me, being forced to slow down and step away from everything for a few days made me realize how much I needed rest and it showed me how my priorities in the recent weeks had shifted from where they should be and needed to realign. As far as some of these other trials I’m still working through them, but I can find the joy in knowing I can call my aunt and have quality time over the phone as she begins her chemo treatments, and little man’s potty training won’t last forever, but has definitely given us memories we can laugh about later.
I also remind myself of God’s promises and that our time here on this earth is short. Romans 8:18 tells us that the sufferings in this world are not worth comparing to the glory that is to be revealed to us in the future. This sinful, evil world we are currently living in will one day be replaced with a new heaven and a new earth where pain and sorrow will no longer be a part. We can find joy in knowing that God is right by our side through each and every moment of our lives. So I want to leave you with this, take a moment and choose to find joy in the struggles and trials you are facing this week. No matter how big or small the trial, find joy!