Consider it all joy, my brothers when you encounter various trials, for you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.
Consider trials JOY? What was St. James thinking when he wrote this? Upon first glance at this verse we might be tempted to wonder if the beloved Saint put in a few too many prayerful “all-nighters” because surely he wasn’t serious about feeling joyful when the washer breaks, someone you love gets sick, the fuel pump on the car goes out or the sweet teenager in your home eats the last piece of peach pie you were hiding…I mean saving, in the back of the fridge! Joy…I don’t think so! And what about the really big stuff like losing your job or serious illness, surely he couldn’t have meant those things could bring joy. I suppose we could sit down and make a list of all the trials that have happened upon us in the past month and we would be overcome with many emotions, none of which would be joy!
The real meat of this verse is the part that explains what we can get in exchange for our trials…stronger faith and perseverance. Do you remember when you were young and you went home from school and complained about that boy who pulled your pigtails or the girl who annoyingly pointed out your every move to the teacher? The standard reply from home went something like this, “Well honey, if they didn’t like you they wouldn’t tease you.” This verse has a little bit of that flavor to it don’t ya think! God promised that we would have trouble…it is a guarantee, not a possibility. Even though we’ve read those words more than once, trials still seem to catch us by surprise. We sometimes even cop an attitude and think, “What, me…why me Lord? What have I done to deserve this difficulty?” We might even get really sassy and say, “Oh, pardon me Father, but you’ve made a mistake, I’ve already had 8 serious trials this month, I believe this current dilemma belongs to the neighbor or even better, the guy who cut me off in traffic this morning!”
The simple truth is, if He didn’t love us, He wouldn’t give us trials at all. Each difficulty or disappointment that knocks on our front door or barges right into our day is an opportunity to grow in trust or compassion or patience. When we throw up our hands in despair and say, “Ok God, I don’t know how to do this…I don’t think I’m strong enough for this, please guide me and guard me and love me through it!” we will grow in faith and perseverance plus we will be blessed with grace and mercy. I think what St. James was teaching us is that any time we surrender to the holy power of God, that’s joyful, and the blessing is more strength, more grace and more faith for the next thing! It seems strange to thank God for the lousy stuff but that is what we are called to do. We need to act like we are completely aware that He is about to do a might work through that trial if we would just stand back and let Him take us through it.
A Seed To Plant: The next time a trial comes your way, stop and thank God
for it and ask Him to show you the joy in the situation. We’d love to hear your stories!
Blessings on your day!
Joy is the net of love by which you can catch souls.
- Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta
What’s a three letter word that has the capacity to change the ENTIRE world….no it’s not PIE! My Dad might disagree with me though! In the 27 years he was married to my mom, he had fresh homemade pie in his lunch box nearly every day. That’s how much she loved him so pie can be powerful but that’s not the word I’m thinking of. The all-powerful three letter word I’m talking about is JOY!
Joy and happiness are different. Joy is bigger, deeper and much more contagious! Joy is something you choose. Joy doesn’t depend on things goin’ your way; it depends on your faithfulness and your trust in the Father. Joy is being content that things are going HIS way whether it’s easy or not.
The Father’s will is perfectly orchestrated to provide each and every experience we need to build us up for a life in heaven. I think most of us would agree that the world needs more people who are willing to live a strong Christian life. We are all called to “go forth and preach the Gospel” but how? We are called to evangelize but how? The answer boils down to that three letter word…JOY! If it is our mission to bring people to Christ, we have to make sure we are the kind of people others want to follow. There is no better “advertisement” for God than to be so in love with Him that His joy just leaks out all over.
Recently the famous Fr. Joe Krupp spoke to our school staff and encouraged each of us to wake up every day and ACT like we WISHED we FELT! Great advice! Each time we interact with another person, we have an opportunity to lift up or tear down. We have an opportunity to brighten their day and offer peace and support or to complain and be negative. If our goal is to get to heaven and bring a few others along with us if we can, how we act towards others can make a huge difference. The people around me don’t care how tired I am or how busy I am or how important I think I might be…they want to be lifted up by a smile or an encouraging word…they want a little “shot of joy” in their day. My friends…I’ve saved the best part for last…JOY is for all of us to have and share! We need to wake up each morning and invite God to be in charge of our day and lead us through it by the hand. Joy will be the feeling we get when we put Him in charge and all we have to do is hold His hand and follow along. It’s kind of like riding in
a fancy convertible in the Homecoming parade…all we have to do is ride along and smile and wave to everyone we pass by. Have you ever watched the faces of people at a Homecoming parade as the kids in the convertable or on the float smile and wave…they can’t help but smile back even bigger…that’s how joy works! Joy is like a magnet…spread some around and see what you attract!
A seed to plant: Post a sign in a spot where you will see it every day…on it write the words “I’m gonna ACT like I WISHED I FELT today!
Blessings on your day!
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