Today’s post is written for the link-up at Five Minute Friday on the prompt, “joy“.
Oh, how I wish to just write a simple, happy post about Christmas joy today!
But the first phrase that came to me as I started to think about this prompt is the scripture that reads, “count it all joy” (probably in the King James version). So I looked it up in a more modern translation.
“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” – James 1:2-4, NLT
This isn’t the joy we like to experience in our flesh (our natural selves), but it is the type of joy often spoken of in the Bible.
I’ve always loved the Christmas season best of all and most years have been filled with joy.
But there are so many who are hurting around me even now; those who have lost loved ones recently and will spend Christmas alone, those with a chronic illness looming over their bodies, many who face seemingly insurmountable difficulties and those who are simply a little lost.
My own recent “trials” seem so trivial in light of these more serious difficulties.
Yesterday we got a new fridge, but like so many household projects, things began to go wrong. It was an extremely stressful and exhausting day, but in the end (with a fridge stuck in the middle of our dining area and kitchen, a leaky water line downstairs, and my usually easy-going husband frazzled), we still have so much to be thankful for.
We weren’t feeling joy for most of the day, and it got even worse when late at night our water heater started leaking.
But I realized that these are such “first world problems”. They also don’t hold a candle to the pain that so many are facing in these days.
Whether it seems big or small, stresses and difficulties will come as long as we live.
So how do we count it all joy?
One of my favorite scripture passages comes to mind:
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” – Romans 15:13, NIV
When things don’t go as planned…..we can count it as joy.
In the middle of a crisis…..we can count it as joy.
If we feel discouraged, anxious or depressed…..we can still count it as joy.
When the prognosis is bleak or we are in physical pain…..we can count it as joy.
In our times of deepest loss, grief or loneliness…..we can count it as joy.
When we feel afraid or like we don’t have what it takes…..we can count it as joy.
Whatever life throws at us, whether it seems big or small, we can count it as joy because we have hope. We know a God who will never leave us, who walks with us or carries us through every trial and joy, and who has given his very life for us.
He came long ago on that first Christmas bringing tidings of great joy.
When we trust that each moment in our life has purpose and can cause us to grow, we have a reason to find joy in every circumstance.
So whatever you face this Christmas, be it happy or hard, won’t you count it all as joy with me?