Count is All Joy

Have you had those days when all things seem to go wrong? Something at home breaks, a doctor bill comes in you don’t quite have enough money for, issues arise at work with coworkers or bosses. Sometimes it isn’t just a rough day or two but whole seasons of hard things. A cancer diagnosis, a marriage on the verge of divorce, legal issues that feel as though they will be never ending and near impossible to handle.

The Word of God tells us in James 1:2 “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds”.

This instruction can feel hard, if not near impossible as one walks through the challenging things in this life. So how are we, as believers, able to count it all joy?

The first way we can count it all joy can be found in studying the Greek word used for “joy” in this verse. The root of the word for joy used here means leaning towards. It is the same root found in the Greek word for grace. We as believers can count it all joy as we go through trials because we lean towards God, being fully aware of His grace and favor. 2 Corinthians 12:9 tells us “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.”

The second way we can count it all joy is by knowing the purpose of the trials. James tells us in James 1:3-4 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.”  The word testing here means to prove, trying by fire and thus purifying, to determine the genuineness of for the purpose of producing steadfastness, which is endurance. In the forest, a practice of cool burning, which is setting small, controlled blazes helps to clear out underbrush, cleans the forest of debris, opens it up to sunlight, and nourishes the soil. In a similar way, the trials that we face are like cool fires to our faith. We can trust that God has close watch on the trials in our life, allowing them to expose our faith, to clear out the debris and create deeper trust in Him, allowing more of His light into our life. “For the ashes are making the soil still more fertile and are preparing it for resurrection life.” (Hannah Murnard, Mountain of Spices)

The third way we can count it all joy is by keeping an eternal perspective. In 2 Corinthians 4:17-18, Paul tells us “For this light momentary affliction Is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” Though the trials that we face here on earth can be challenging and hard, as believers, we can know they are but temporary in the perspective of eternity that we will get to spend with Christ, healed and whole.

My Christian friend, if you are going through hard trials right now, I pray that you will count it all joy: lean into God being aware of His grace, remember there is purpose in the trial of refining, and keep your eyes focused on eternity. 

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