My heart is heavy this morning. But I must not give in to the heaviness.
Last Wednesday evening at one of our Bible studies, we discussed joy. Some of the people thought of joy as the same as happiness. I talked about the joy I had even after my husband died. I was grieving but I had a joy inside that was unexplainable. It came from knowing that God had hold of me.
Since that night I've read about the joy of the Lord and meditated on what it means. From James I read that we are to count it all joy when we fall into various trials. In my opinion most of the trials we fall into are those that threaten to steal away our faith and trust in God. We pray. Nothing happens. In fact, everything looks worse. That's a trial of my faith that God is still in control and is holding on to me.
James says the testing of that faith produces patience. The perfect work of patience is maturity. With patience's perfect work we lack nothing. NOTHING! Can you imagine lacking nothing?
Thursday and Friday--all day, meditating on the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart. Then comes the trial of my faith last night. My heart ached and fear threatened. Where was the joy? I've prayed about this situation so long and what seemed to be better suddenly was right back where it has been for years.
In the notes on James 1:2-4 the author writes, "The proper attitude in meeting adversity is to count it all joy, which is not an emotional reaction but a deliberate intelligent appriasal of the situation from God's perspective, viewing trials as a means of moral and spiritual growth. We do not rejoice in the trials themselves, but in their possible results. Trials serve as a discipline to purge faith of dross, stripping away what is false. Patience is not a passive resignation to adverse circumstances, but a positive steadfastness that bravely endures."
I spoke of this trial to a friend last night and he said, "What can you do about it?"
My response was true. "Nothing." I cannot change this situation except through prayer. And that I will continue to do.
I want to make it clear that God has not brought this situation on our family. He only uses it to strengthen all of us--to bring us to that perfect work of patience, faith and trust. What is more amazing about Him is that He knew it was coming and prepared me with His word.
The joy of being in the Saviour's arms upholds me. His joy strengthens me. Along with the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart, I have the peace that passes understanding down in my heart today.