Most of us go through minor trials and difficulties on any given day.
Sometimes we hit a real snag which turns our life upside down and causes us real pain or sorrow.
At times it can seem like a real nightmare.
What do we do with that? How do we respond? In what way do we allow it to affect us?
Probably counting it as a joyous occasion doesn't come to mind first.
This leads us into that particular area where the Word of God meets real living.
It's a tough spot at times, particularly when it hasn't been practiced much.
Life happens. We tend to find little difficulty applying biblical principles during the smooth times.
However, when our snow globe gets shaken up a bit, it seems like we scramble for answers.
James gives us an interesting admonition today.
James 1:2 - "Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds."
"Various kinds" leave the field wide open. It could mean anything.
"Hello, allow me to introduce you to your worst nightmare...keep smiling."
I think this passage has been grossly misinterpreted over the years.
Visions of wide eyed stark raving mad Christians jumping up and down giggling uncontrollably at the news of a tragedy is probably not what James had in mind.
I don't even think he envisioned so much as a smirk at the news of the death of a loved one.
I think "count it as joy" was more of a backdrop than a foreground display.
I think it is more of the easy deep down assurance that is present in all experiences.
Steady as she goes, Everything is going to be fine. Jesus is in control.
In the third verse James says, "for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness."
That very steadfastness is strength. While it doesn't cause over the top displays of raucous joy during the inappropriate times, it does allow for calm assessments of situations under pressure.
I think the joy comes in a bit later. In my opinion it's not speaking of outward expressions of joy, but an underlying and steady attitude of joy that our Savior is always there.
Therein lies the heart and soul of the steadfast Christian. Faith in Christ produces steady, joy filled, and faithful disciples.
Joy, true God sent joy, is something we have all of the time. Even when things are not going so hot.
So, how about you today?
Keepin' it Real,
Pastor Kevin <><