Really? Do we have to treat ALL the trials we go through with joy? If you’re anything like me, you start to push aside the joy and live in angst with comments like, “But God doesn’t understand…”. That’s a lie straight from Satan because of course God understands your circumstances! And, in light of the challenges of a trial, He is still inviting you to count it as joy.
I’m always fascinated by the original Greek and Hebrew words of the scriptures because I know they can lose some of their meaning when they get translated into English. The word for “trial” here, peirasmos, means temptation, affliction, bring tried, all pretty basic. And, it also means a trial of man’s fidelity. God uses challenging, and sometimes downright hard circumstances, to test your fidelity to Him. Will you still hold on to faith, give God the glory and stay with Him when trials come? Will you allow the trials to be a source of joy?
The quick answer, if we are being honest, is maybe, right? It depends, God, on how hard the trial is and how much pain I feel. We would likely never say that but we know that from a purely earthly perspective, our flesh is likely to fail God. How do we count it as joy when the doctor says “there is no cure”? How do we count it as joy when our spouse says “I want a divorce”? The list could go on and on of circumstances where we find it almost impossible to count the situation as joy. And yet, God’s invitation is to do the seemingly impossible…find joy.
The question really is: do my circumstances here on Earth dictate my joy, or does my relationship with God? If we are following Jesus, our joy is not only made complete, but is overflowing because we have the joy of Jesus inside us! (John 15:11) When we focus on the circumstances and make those the determining factor of joy, we will always fall short. When we focus on God, remaining faithful to Him and the call on our lives, we will attain increased faith and joy. It’s a choice we make to believe God’s word and count every trial as a source of joy.
I was getting sucked into despair over our move to New York. I don’t see it coming together like I was hoping and, that’s because I decided the appropriate timeline instead of just giving it all to God to work out. The truth is, moving to New York is a call on my life from God and, I believe He will be faithful to complete this call. (Philippians 1:6) I am remaining faithful to Jesus and the call He has in my life to love the people of NYC. I am counting this period of waiting as pure joy, knowing that through Jesus, I am able. I will not give up. I will not live in despair. I will fix my eyes on Jesus in the midst of the storm and I will keep walking on the water.
How about you? Will you answer the call of God on your life and stay faithful to it no matter the circumstances? I’m praying for you to say yes and count it all joy.