Count It All Joy!
James 1:2 “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.”
Truly, leaning on your own understanding will only cause you grief in this world. As I have learned to walk through the pain and suffering life offers, joy has been the strength of my heart. As you know, joy is one of the fruits of the Spirit. The only way to have the evidence of God’s fruit in your life is to daily spend time with Him in prayer, scripture reading, and meditation. There simply is no substitute for the power, which will enable you to walk through the difficulties life offers, if you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
Personally, I gave my life to Christ at a young age. I had a personal account with God, which changed me forever, and I made a commitment to be a “living sacrifice” no matter what. My love of God and inner convictions has carried me through each difficulty with stability. When we were told in 2000 there was no hope for Miranda medically speaking at the National Institute of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, I was devastated. This news came on the heels of much hope I had put into these particular doctors helping Miranda. They were our last natural hope. The pain that shot through my heart with those words can still be recalled with detail today – ten years later. Over the next eighteen months, I had decisions to make. Would I continue to serve a God that would allow sickness in my child? Would I continue to believe God would take care of her? Would I keep “faith” or would I forsake my commitment to Christ?
My Dad taught me many powerful things as a child, one of which was to ‘never give up.’ His parenting, my personality, and God’s grace caused me to rise up on the inside when everything around me screamed ‘quit – give up – there is no hope.’ Ultimately, I decided I did not need hope from the world, because I had God. He would be my Source, Strength, Hope, and Joy. He would heal my heart and guide me daily. Through the painful process of the reality of our daily lives, my faith grew. Not faith that God would magically make my life perfect, but the true faith which is birthed from God causing me to stand in the midst of sickness and say ‘it is well with my soul.’
Over the next ten years, including this one, each member of my household has been diagnosed with some terrible disease, which does not have a medical cure. We have faced death, blindness, being paralyzed, countless hospital stays, and more doctors than I can count – yet through it all I can testify that ‘God is good and He has never failed me.’
Counting it all ‘joy’ does not mean obtaining a feeling of happiness when you are speaking of the fruit of joy from God. Joy is strength manifested through the trials of life. Joy is the ingredient needed when you as a human do not have the ability to endure whatever you may be facing. Joy is the element which Christ uses to stabilize your life when your world is crumbling.
Many people spend their time saving money, thinking about money, investing money – let me tell you that no amount of money can buy you joy or the things in life which truly bring happiness such as love, health, and peace. Spend your time investing in Christ. There is no substitute for the fruit of the Spirit, and it can not be manufactured. You either have it or you don’t. When the storms of life blow, the fruit of the Spirit will be the boat that carries you through to the other side. If you choose to abide in Christ today, then all your tomorrows will be counted joy even if they contain painful trials of life.