Thursday, September 19, 2013

Where Has All the Joy Gone?

My smile is my trademark.  I use it as my witness.  It shines the light and joy I carry inside me, but lately it has grown dim.  Where has all the joy gone? 

The joy got lost in the battle to fight for a child who resists and struggles.

The joy got filed away with a pile of bills.

The joy vanished along with the free time I no longer have.

The joy got swallowed up by my anger.

The joy got lost in my trials.

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds."
James 1:2
I stare at this chapter of James on my bathroom mirror and my kitchen cabinet and tucked in my devotional.  I will myself to believe it, to take hold of it's strength and yet my focus is more on the trial than the considering it pure joy part.
James choice of words here is interesting to me.  He doesn't say to deal with your trials or be content in them or to find a way out of them, but think of them as a joy, pure joy!  WHAT ON EARTH WAS HE THINKING!  WHAT WAS GOD THINKING WHEN HE INSPIRED JAMES TO WRITE THAT?
"Because you know the testing of your faith develops perseverance.  Perseverance must finish it's work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." 
James 1:3-4
I believe that like my faith, my joy is a work of the Holy Spirit.  When I focus on the trials I fail to find joy, but when my focus is on Christ I tend to see more of him than the pain around me.  The struggle remains, but my joy is not lost. 
There is joy in pain when Christ is the Healer.
There is joy in struggle when Christ fights for you.
There is joy in debt when Christ paid the ultimate debt.
There is joy in the unknown when your future is secure.