Count It All Joy

“One today is worth more than two tomorrows.”

Benjamin Franklin

It can be a challenge to see today as a blessing worth more than what we hope for, long for, or dream for in the future. It's easy to focus on what we don't yet have. You want healing, restoration, a new beginning, a raise, a way out. Often we want exactly what we don’t yet have, but today is here and tomorrow is not guaranteed. And, to add to it all, the trials that hinder you just keep coming.

When we feel worn down mentally or emotionally, often times we can bet that something else is coming. “When it rains, it pours” is the common adage. However, something else is beckoning – fullness. But, it will take a radically different perspective of thought and spirit to get there.

"Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know 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."

– James 1:2-4 ESV

“Count it all joy.” That is quite the perspective: not happiness; not good feelings. Joy is not a feeling at all. Joy is a state of being, a reality. Joy is tangible in a sense. And, somehow our trials are meant to be regarded as adding to our joy, because they are taking us somewhere – to fullness.

You can think of your joy like a chest that you can fill up. James, the brother of Jesus, tells us that trials should be regarded as worthy of going in that chest, because trials produce something good in us. Endurance and steadfastness. The ability to withstand and do it again, but next time easier. That steadfastness, over time, makes us refined, capable, singly devoted, lacking in nothing, perfect – full.

When we meet trials and work through them, we get stronger. When we work out, we shed blood, sweat, and tears. Trials are often no different, and like a physical work out, if you give up, you miss out.

After James’ instructions, he tells us how to do it.
 

"If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him."

– James 1:5 ESV

Ask God. When you don’t know what to do, ask God, keep going, and endure. God will make you full. Just wait. Regard your trial as a blessing. Call it what it is. Call it out. Give it a name and a new cover. It may be painful, but it can be a blessing.

Practice

  • Read James 1: 2-18.
  • Prayerfully list your trials, worries, and fears, and ask God for wisdom in what to do.
  • With your trials on the forefront of your mind, thank God for them. Thank him that with his wisdom and in his care, you will persevere, and that there is purpose in them if for no other reason than bringing you closer to him.
  • What is one thing that you are thankful for?