“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:2-4
“I believe that a trusting attitude and a patient attitude go hand in hand. You see, when you let go and learn to trust God, it releases joy in your life. And when you trust God, you’re able to be more patient. Patience is not just about waiting for something… it’s about how you wait, or your attitude while waiting.” Joyce Meyer
- Beautiful woman of God, come spend time with the Father today! Pray and ask God to speak to you through His Word.
- Read James 1:2-3. Time allowing, read the entire chapter.
Joy: The Secret Weapon
“Count it all joy when you meet trials…” Brother James, what are you thinking?
I don’t know about you, but when I am in a trial, joy is not my natural inclination. Instead, I respond like a toddler who has no intention of taking a nap or eating my vegetables, kicking and whining, “No trial! No trial!”, in hopes that my heavenly Father will change His mind about the testing of my faith. And just as a loving parent persists, knowing that a child needs rest or nutrients for her physical well-being, our loving Abba knows that we too need various trials for our spiritual well-being.
Each one of us has trials in our lives—you cannot be human in our fallen world and not experience pain and suffering. Standing in the line at the grocery store with your impatient entourage can be a trial, especially if one is bawling at the top of his or her lungs (we’ve all been there!). Other trials are more painful to walk through. Betrayal. Illness. Death. Regardless of the trial itself, be it ‘big’ or ‘small,’ we are to consider it joy. How do we do that? Well, what does God’s Word say? The testing of our faith produces steadfastness, commitment, dedication, determination, faithfulness, loyalty, perseverance, persistence, resoluteness, and a stubborn, white-knuckled grip on our hope in Christ.
Mama, we need to take the microscope off of our situation and circumstance and zoom out for a heavenly perspective. God doesn’t say that the pain is good, but the growth resulting from the pain certainly is, which is why we should rejoice. My friend, God does not cause pain in our lives; let’s be very clear on that. But He will use pain to draw us toward Him and mature us into the people He has called us to be. This is where we find our joy–changing our earthly mindset into a heavenly one. Turning “God, why did you allow this to happen” to “God, I don’t know why this is happening, but I trust that You are at work in my life.”
Now, we must be aware that the enemy of our soul, who never blinks but is ever-watchful, will also use the pain in our lives. He will use our trials in an attempt to plant seeds of distraction, distrust, and distance from our Creator. It is a spiritual tug-of-war between life and death, and when we obstinately cling to joy in our trial, proclaiming the promises of God with thanksgiving, we are strengthened as we triumph over darkness. “Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10b). I don’t know about you, but when I am in a trial, I want joy to be my natural inclination. I want to wield this secret weapon against the enemy and triumph during my trials!
Questions to Ponder
- What trials am I currently facing? How can I demonstrate faith and joy to my children in this situation?
- Am I trusting in my own strength to fix the trials in my life, or am I placing my hope in the perfect, unchanging God who created the world and created me?
Count your blessings. Name them one by one. When we focus on our blessings rather than our troubles, we produce joy. Keep a large jar or container on your kitchen counter (or other central location) with a stack of small blank note cards nearby. Each time you think of a blessing or encouraging Scripture, write it down and place it in the jar. Encourage your family to participate. At the end of the year, empty the jar and read the notes of thanksgiving aloud at a special family supper.
If you want to take it one step further, be ultra-specific and proclaim in faith your trust in God. These written declarations will begin to transform your heart and mind!