Happy New Year!
We have embarked upon 2019 with hope and expectation. Each day is created by the Lord God, and is prepared with blessings of peace, provision and victory. I rejoice at the thought of it all! I rejoice at the thought of victory on every hand!
Many times, I have cried tears of joy in God’s Presence and at the knowledge that He will provide for my every need. For me, this is an easy thing to do. Well, it is when everything is going good. Admittedly however, I sometimes find it quite difficult to do when faced with a challenge.
We know there will be many great experiences this year, for which we will be thankful. If we are honest, we know that there will be difficult, unsettling situations that also arise this year. Will we be thankful for those as well? These challenges are in fact, the only way to obtain a “victory” that we so earnestly rejoice over.
I found myself recently facing one of those difficult, unsettling situations. Something that just about knocks you off of your feet, and drops a seed of despair within your soul before you really even know it’s there.
This situation, this possibility (not even a surety), this “what if?”, caused a seed of doubt to be stealth-fully planted, quietly maneuvering within my psyche and soul, positioning itself to choke out the Word, the promises, the faithfulness, the goodness, and the unfailing love of God. It was affecting my thoughts, my peace and my motivation — my drive to keep moving forward.
I brought this situation to God, hoping to rid myself of it all, similar to the Apostle Paul when he pleaded with God 3 times to remove the thorn in his flesh. Like Paul, that would have been optimal for me. In Paul’s case, God told him “My grace is sufficient…” In my case, He said, “Count it all joy...” I had to go through the process. And, God had to give me perspective.
When James wrote to, “…count it all joy when we face trials of many kinds…” the joy we are to have isn’t in the testing or the trial, it’s in the fruit we bear by it. This testing of our faith develops something within us — patience (perseverance). And, it is patience (perseverance) that must do its work within us. If we allow its work within us, we receive the fruit of being mature AND complete; lacking nothing. We become Whole.
How do we count it all joy? By pushing ourselves into a season of thanksgiving. Our circumstances do not change Who God is. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. Thank Him for ALL He has already done; call to mind all the victories He’s already given to you.
Counting it ALL Joy, not only changes our perspective, but it can bring about a wholeness we have yet to experience. Counting it ALL Joy will also give us strength in the journey, for the Joy of the Lord is our strength.
In essence, no Joy equates to no wholeness and no strength. I don’t know about you, but I need both! So today, whatever you are facing, Count it ALL Joy!
James 1:2-8; 2 Corinthians 12:9; Nehemiah 8:10