There is a familiar verse from the New Testament book of James (chapter 1, verse 2) where we are instructed to count it all joy when we fall into various trials. Of the many difficult passages in the book, this may be one of the hardest. Especially if we think of the definition of joy as an “emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune.” This definition doesn’t seem to make sense of James’s admonition to find joy in hardship, does it? However, the dictionary definition goes on to say, “or by the prospect of possessing what one desires.”
Can we find joy in a future prospect? Even when we feel our joy buried beneath sickness, loss, confusion, heartache, or fear?
If you are feeling overwhelmed by the present circumstances in your life, now is the time to deliberately seek the joy beneath it all.
But, where are we supposed to look? Where may our joy be found in the midst of sadness?
Gratitude is one antidote to sorrow. Reminding ourselves of those things in our past and present which bring us delight. Beauty in nature, loving relationships, a good night’s sleep, the genuine smile of a friend; unexpected blessings abound when we lift our eyes and seek them.
Giving thanks to God for His every gift, even the seemingly insignificant, can bring your elusive joy closer.
You will show me the path of life;Psalm 16:11 NKJV
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
Fixating on temporary situations or allowing fear of the future to fill our heart can divert us from the joy we seek. When we find that happening, it is time to concentrate upon the prospect of possessing what one desires.
Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.Psalm 51:12 NKJV
The hardships and sadness of this world are brief. As we read in Psalm 30:5, “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” Christians enjoy the prospect of an eternal morning, thanks to the gift of God through His Son.
“Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy…”Luke 2:10 NKJV
Whatever is weighing you down today, consider it all joy in the light of God’s great love.