One of the craziest verses I have ever read in the Bible is James 1:2-3, 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.
As a brand-new believer I read that verse and thought there must be a typo. Surely James could not have meant we were supposed to be happy when our world was falling apart?
Yet, he did, but not in the rainbows and glitter sort of way. It was a deeper, richer, fuller, kind of joy James was referring to in those opening verses.
In the years my husband and I have been together, we have persevered through financial struggles, loss of family members, and loss of friendships. We have stood toe-to-toe wondering how we were going to survive the next moment, only to come through on the other side stronger and more committed to each other.
I have stood at the precipice of depression, believing there is nothing good that will come from all of the turmoil, loss, separation, and uncertainty in our lives right now. Suddenly, I would hear hymns in my head like Then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee, how great Thou art, how great Thou art.
From Heaven’s point of view these experiences are only here to be used as learning tools in God’s great classroom to teach me and prepare me for what is next. They remind me of how God showed up and showed off in the past to help me remember that He will do the same in the future.
God is so big, He gives me joy when I cannot find any on my own. He gives me joy that lasts. Joy that teaches, sings, laughs, talks, and loves in ways our finite world cannot even understand.
Considering all of the pendulum swinging ways the world says we should find joy, I chose the joy God provides.
The joy that lasts.