Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. – James 1:2 – 4 (NIV)
Consider it pure joy whenever you face trials of many kinds. My favorite word in this passage is pure. We are not just talking about regular old joy, here. We’re not talking about the kind of giddy joy that comes from situational events such as getting an A+ on a paper, getting a good review at work, or becoming infatuated with someone new. We are talking about joy that has been refined by fire and is completely unblemished. Joy that comes from going through difficult trials and yet still praises God. This is the joy that’s not watered-down or tarnished by any outside influences. This is joy that is unshakable. Joy that is cemented to the soul. Joy that clings to the heart despite the raging negative life experiences that swirl around like a hurricane. Joy that stays intact even when the flaming arrows of Satan infiltrate our minds telling us we are failures; we’re ugly; we are not worthy of a pure, faithful relationship; we are not loved and cared for; we are not worth the ground that we walk on…
This pure joy stays intact when we are facing trials of many kinds. This pure joy doesn’t grow and build when life is going perfectly and we are getting all of our prayers answered. Don’t get me wrong, I love those times and they can be euphoric and produce much joy. But this purified joy sinks its roots deep into the ground when the pink slip comes at work; when the teenager becomes rebellious; when depression seems to surround us; when the cancer diagnosis comes; when a child dies in a car accident; and when a woman faints in her kitchen and breaks her neck. If we can persevere, keep our faith, and mature through these life circumstances, we can develop the purest type of joy: a deep-seated contentment and acceptance of God’s will.
I am not there yet with this pure joy idea but I’m beginning to gain perspective. Something deep inside of me is shifting and moving me to a point of clarity about pure joy. I don’t understand why my life events have played out the way they have, but I’m beginning to understand that devastating events don’t have to be viewed as a negative events.
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. – Romans 8:28 (NLT)