James 1:2-4 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into diverse temptations; knowing this , that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
I’ve heard the phrase “count it all joy” for as long as I can remember, but I have surely never lived it. To be honest, I hadn’t even given much thought to what it meant. And if I’m being 100% honest, I didn’t even understand what joy meant in that capacity, and I’d be willing to bet that most people don’t really understand that kind of joy. That “praise Him in the storm” kind of joy sounds great until you are in the middle of a storm and you find yourself praying for God to remove the storm instead of finding peace in knowing that God is in control, and joy in knowing that when I am at my weakest, His power is made perfect. 2 Corinthians 12:9-11 But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you , for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. This is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. I for one can’t walk out a life that delights in weaknesses without inviting my Heavenly Father into every aspect of my life. Frustration, fear, disappointment, anxiety, sadness, loneliness, etc. are the result of trying to fight life’s battles in our own strength, and the opposite is true when we invite our Heavenly Father in to every situation in our lives. So lately, God has been showing me that things happen for a reason, and that I should ask Him what He is wanting to show me or teach me in the different situations that occur in my life. Recently, my cat, who’s name is Joy if you can believe that, somehow got her tail broken in multiple places, and the vet had to remove it at the base. All she has is a nub if you were wondering, and thankfully it is healing nicely, and she didn’t experience any the complications that could have happened. Anyway, it was just such an odd weird thing that happened, and I asked God what the lesson in this was. He revealed to me that the vet we took her to was thirsty for something more, and that I need to tell him that God loves him. Okay God, that’s gonna be awkward, but I can do that. When it was time to take Joy to get her stitches out, I was fully prepared to give this message to the vet, but one of the assistants came out and got her, and I was told to wait in the waiting room. While I was waiting, I was thinking I could just send him a card with the message from God on it, or I could just tell them I’d like to talk to him before I go. Thankfully, I didn’t even have to ask, the assistant called me back because the vet wanted to talk to me about how serious the situation was and how well she was doing all things considered. After we finished talking about Joy, I told him that I had asked God what the lesson is all this was, and that it turned out, it was not for me, but for the him. I told him exactly what God had told me, and he was genuinely happy to be reminded that God loves him, and he even allowed me to pray with him. It was a lovely experience, and I have not idea what the purpose of any of it was, but I’m every happy that God allowed me to be a prat of it. I have no idea how my beautiful kitty’s tail was broken, and I could have wasted my energy being angry and investigating something that I certainly couldn’t change, and I could have been upset about the money I had to spend getting her tail amputated, instead though, I invited my Heavenly Father into the situation, and He turned it into something beautiful. Joy doesn’t even seem to notice that her tail is missing, and it hasn’t changed her life in the least; however, my life is forever changed because God used Joy the cat to teach me how to take hold of the joy He has for me. Because of that, I’ve been very aware of God’s presence surrounding me at all times, and I’ve been looking at life differently. Rather than being irritated by the trials of life, I’ve been inviting God in to every situation. I’m even learning to take time to appreciate all of the beauty He has so carefully crafted in this world. In the midst of praise and worship Sunday, I found myself thanking God for all the trials in my life because He has used every one of them to mold me and shape me and bring me closer to Him. How can we not count it all joy when we have the revelation that God is always with us in all things. I don’t want to miss anything He has for me, and I never want to forget to invite Him into every situation in my life. Sometimes God’s voice is loud, but usually, it is a whisper that we must intentionally lean in to hear. My prayer is to remember to be grateful in all things, to rejoice in knowing that God is in control, and that I am His and He is mine, and that I keep my focus on Him so I don’t miss anything He has for me. I pray all things in the precocious and mighty name of Jesus. Amen