Joy Is Found in Surprising Places

Do you ever have a week where the enemy is attacking you? Did it leave you frustrated and tired? If so, we have something in common! For the last couple of weeks, my computer has been acting up, only when I try to write my devotions. My knee is swollen so I cannot go up and down stairs without pain. An injury from a car accident has me in a lot of pain; my neck, back and shoulder keep spasming or locking up. Honestly, I am not writing this for sympathy. I am writing it because I still can! There are so many things to be thankful for, even in a trial!

Though my neck is killing me, some people cannot move from the neck down. Though my back keeps spasming off and on, some people have back pain 24-7. Some people cannot feel their back at all. Though my computer is trying to keep me from writing these devotions, some people do not have a computer or the hand movement to type or write. Though my computer won’t let me post a picture today, I can paint a picture with words. Some people cannot see pictures or the printed word. All of this points me to God’s Word which says…

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

One thing I like about James’ writing is that he covers all bases when it comes to guiding Christians’ behavior. It is like he answers our questions before we ask. He writes that we need to find the joy in trials, and then proceeds to answer questions that may arise from that statement. He answers the questions: “Why should we have joy?, What kind of trials will we have? What is the reason for my trials?

James tells sisters and brothers in Christ to consider seeing trials as a joy. The word ‘consider’ makes me laugh a bit because sometimes you have no desire to see the good side of things. That makes the enemy happy, our focusing on, and being engulfed by the bad. James asks us to just look at trials in a different way, through the eyes of spiritual growth. He also uses the word, WHENEVER. He doesn’t say, “If you happen to have a trial,” he says when you do face trials. And not just one trial, but trials of all kinds! Why should we have joy? Because trials produce perseverance and maturity, if we let them.

So, as I sit here writing, I am so thankful for the ability to read and write and understand God’s Word. I am thankful for my recent trials because it means I have an opportunity to mature. I am thrilled that I have God’s word to guide us as I persevere so I may “be mature and complete, lacking nothing.” I am thankful for caring doctors, family and friends who encourage me. I am beyond blessed to be able to see, hear, and move my body, which some cannot do at all. Most of all, I am joyful because I matter enough to warrant a test of maturity. God is so good!

If this devotion seems a bit personal and all about me, I apologize. I only mean to encourage others with the encouragement the Lord gives me. I have joy in my trials this morning and you can have it too! It is a decision based on fact and choice. Fact: God loves us! He wants us to become our best self for Him. Choice: We can choose joy over despair because… we know trials have a holy purpose!

One for the journal…Read the scripture today several times, then read it as if the Lord were talking directly to you. 1.Make it personal. For example…Insert your name before the verse and read it as if God is talking to You. 2.After you finish making it personal, make it a statement of faith: I WILL consider trials a joy. I know I will face all types of trials. I also know and will do my best to remember, that trials test my faith. When I persevere and choose joy in the trial, I will become more of what God wants me to be, a mature follower of His. My faith in Him will grow and mature, the more I use it. I will not be lacking anything when I trust in God….something like this. Write in your journal your own personal vow based on the verse.

Dear Father:

You are so good to us. Though we have trials of all kinds, we know You are perfectly capable of helping us through each trial and with joy! The world may not understand it when we have joy in a dark place, but that’s a good thing. Maybe they will see it is Your light that guides us! Thank You for whatever trials we may face today. Please stay close to us always. We love You so much and only want Your will, even if its a trial You think we need. Amen.

As always, love and prayers to you,

Just me. Just His.

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