Steven A. Bush - October 23, 2016
Count It All Joy
James 1:2-4 says: "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." (ESV) When was the last time you went through a bunch of troubles and trials and tribulations and broke into your happy dance? Obviously this kind of joy supersedes mere happy circumstances that titillate the emotions. But how do we take hold of such joy when times are difficult and afflictions are many? How do we possess it? Are there any Biblical examples for us? The author of Hebrews in 12:1b-4 gives us the best example: "And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart." (NIV) The joy set before Jesus was certainly not in being crucified, but rather in all the crucifixion was accomplishing. Our trials, no matter how awful, are likewise not without purpose. Take joy in this: God is in control. God is good. And God loves you.