Joy

For ten days in May, I will be participating in the Spring Study Program at Precept Ministries in Chattanooga. We will be studying the book of James. This will be an intense study: ten weeks worth of classes in ten days. To prepare, I am doing lots of homework.

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. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 

James 1:2-4 | NIV


Over the years, I have meditated on this passage many times. I memorized most of James and often think about it when I’m mowing or driving. 

When The Accident happened, I did not consider it joy! There is nothing to be joyful about in losing a child! Yet, looking back over these past two years, I see that my faith has been tested, and I have persevered. I have matured in my theology. I have grown in many ways. And I am glad of that. 

I chose healing in my grief. I chose gratitude in my pain. And I even found times when I could choose to be joyful in the midst of my sorrow. None of it was easy; it was a struggle. It still is at times. But as I persevered, the grief became more manageable, the pain easier to bear, and joy more frequent. 

Farther down in the chapter, James tell us that we who persevere will be blessed.

Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.

James 1:12 | NIV

Yes, I will be blessed when I receive my crown of life, but I have blessed here on earth because I persevere. I did not give in to despair, and slowly my broken heart healed. Ron and I are closer than we ever were before. My faith has grown. I’ve made wonderful new friends through our shared loss. 

My life is good, despite the trials I have faced. And, yes, I have joy.

This graphics explains how I feel about the trials I gave been through.

  

6 thoughts on “Joy

  1. The book of James is one of my favorites, too.

    This post (talking about trials) also made me think of Psalm 139:23-24 which reads, “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, . . .”

    I wholeheartedly agree that we grow in our trials and God shows us who He is and teaches us that we can get our strength from Him when we go through these tests. But when I was meditating on the Psalm 139 verse, I couldn’t stop thinking of the Psalmist’s *invitation* for tests. I don’t know that my faith is there yet–to invite God to test me. I will accept the tests and trials that are presented before me, but I can’t invite them. Maybe someday, as my faith grows, my desire for more of God will be so strong that I can declare the same prayer as the Psalmist.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is so beautiful!

    Yes, trials of various kinds never seem like something to be joyful about, yet it is in the dark emptiness of sorrow that we see the pure joy of the Lord, unadulterated by the lesser feeling of happiness. Happiness and joy are not the same thing. Happiness is momentary; joy is eternal. The joy of the Lord is one that defies circumstance. It gives us light in the dark places and peace in the midst of a raging storm.

    May the Lord continue to fill your heart with joy! Enjoy the study on James. It’s a favorite of mine too!

    Liked by 1 person

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