James 1:2, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds”
If you are like me you have struggled with this verse. I even heard it used recently by a Christian character on a popular television show, she was angry because we are supposed to consider it joy when we go through trials. When life is blowing up all around us and we are completely empty and have lost everything, how do we consider it pure joy?
How do I consider it pure joy when I look around at other people and their lives look peaceful, uneventful, smooth- they excel at life, at anything they do, they never struggle with stupid little things like I do! They never struggle with the day to day dread of facing life, having EVERY. LITTLE. THING. go wrong down to ordering a pizza! These people who couldn’t care less about pleasing God have everything good and no struggle! WHY GOD, am I supposed to consider it all pure joy, when these people don’t even love you and they are living a stress free life! I do try not to compare my life to others often, but you can’t help but notice when you are losing friends because they think you are the plague!
I’ve seen a pattern in my life, the more my husband and I make strides to do our calling of ministry, or prepare for that calling, the more rapid the storms hit. And honestly satan knows my weakness. He has realized he can’t hit me with the big things like losing our house, because I passed that test. Back when we were trying to buy our home and the bank kept selling the mortgage, and we had to keep getting it re-approved. Then they let us move in because closing wasn’t happening for a few weeks, and we found out the house was on the auction block the day before thanksgiving! Our realtor would call me and be like “I just don’t think this is going to happen!” and I would cry and feel upset but I would always reply back “I know this is what you are saying but I just really feel like God is going to come through!” We didn’t allow this to defeat us, the fact that we were not going to have shelter for our 6 kids at the time. We anointed our property with oil and prayed over it together as a family. We knelt in the foyer as a family and asked God to protect our home. We danced around the house praising God for what he was about to do! We did not lay down and cry we stood strong and fought hard! But when little things happen to us, one right after another… it makes me want to lay down and give up!
Just the sheer volume of unimportant, yet necessary things that waste my time over and over and over on a daily basis; its like someone tapping on my forehead over and over again and it makes me crazy!! Satan thought he had a brilliant idea to hit me with all these stupid little storms over, and over constantly thinking that I wouldn’t catch on, and he almost had me there for a while. Last week I was at that place where it was like “Lord, consider it pure joy? Really?” In the span of one week we had three unusable vehicles, the insurance company refuse to cover our medications, the glasses we ordered for our daughter came with the wrong prescription lenses, my financial aid for my classes this summer was denied, I was diagnosed with staph infection, we borrowed my husbands mom’s car to run errands and her car overheated while we were out, our car insurance was freakishly cancelled for no reason… and all these things were remedied but not without hours of phone conversations and red tape and extra paperwork to fill out. I found myself at the end of the week going to my husband and saying “NOTHING can EVER be easy for us!! I JUST WANT PEACE!!” That same night we remembered we had a credit at the pizza place from last month when we ordered and didn’t get what we had paid for. So we decided to call them and take advantage of that, guess what, they had no record of it! I was like “see, nothing is ever easy!”
I continued through that week overwhelmed, frustrated, short-tempered! I was irritated at anything I had to do that caused me to go out of my way to do it! And then I was in the car on my way to walmart listening to KLove. Someone said “When nothing in life seems easy, and every little thing you do turns into a trial, Praise God that Satan isn’t allowing you to have a peaceful life so that you wouldn’t need God.” And I went, “Woah!!” Suddenly “consider it pure joy” had way more meaning to me than it did before! I said, “Lord, thank you for making my life hard, thank you for allowing me to struggle so that I will ALWAYS need you, thank you for caring about me so much that you refuse to allow my life to be peaceful, you refuse to let me forget that YOU are in control, through you all things are possible, it is in you I will find my refuge and NOT through Peace! Lord I consider it pure joy to struggle in life if it means I need you!”
This one sentence changed my entire way of thinking! My need for the Lord is real, an I am thankful I have that need! My desire for peace, is still there but its more like… “peace that passes understanding” because it is now “well with my soul!”
“While others are congratulating themselves, I have to lie humbly at the foot of Christ’s cross and marvel that I am saved at all” ~Charles Spurgeon