James 1:2 “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds…”
“I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy, down in my heart….” You’re probably familiar with the refrain. Maybe you’re a bit like me when it comes to joy. Rather than springing from the deep well of my heart, it comes and goes according to circumstances. I feel joy when Penn State wins its football game, when my classes go well or when someone compliments me. Doesn’t always happen. And when it doesn’t my “joy” evaporates.
The kind of joy that comes in the morning and remains through the dark night reveals fruit of the Spirit inextricably rooted in the wisdom of God. It enables us, as James exhorts, to “face our trials” without despair. How?
Godly wisdom places the isolated fractures in life in the context of the whole story. It gives us a peek into God’s sovereign plan and helps us recognize that often it takes the “worst of times” for the “best” to ultimately occur. Joy flows from the understanding that everything in life is purposed—including our failures and disappointments—to shape our story for the kingdom.
Whether we realize it or not, we face an opponent who interprets every trial and every loss to our unsettled spirits as defeat. No wonder we lose our joy. But we don’t have to. Remember Job? When Satan boasted to God that he could make Job fall by unleashing trials of many kinds, God defended him. And Job stood the test. His perseverance resulted in an increase of joy—as well as integrity. We’re encouraged today by seeing “what the Lord finally brought about” (James 5:11).
I hope that God can defend me, too. And you. I hope that when life deals us blows and our landscape is shaken we will let His wisdom guide us to the deeper reality. A reality where we draw from streams that bubble into inexpressible uncontainable joy….