This morning our area awoke to more snow. The roads are covered, drivers are giving themselves extra space to slow down and stop. Some cars were not so lucky overnight and now wait for someone to come and pull them out of the ditch. Hubby and I were taught to drive in our home states, which are known for lots of snow. My social media feed is full of people posting about school closures, a desire for an adult snow day, and yes, complaining about the driving conditions. All the things I have seen posted every time it snows.
I saw this in my feed this morning as well:
I chuckled when I read it, the person who posted it is someone who finds joy in practically everything. I knew she would be the one who found joy in the snow, too. What about those who do not choose joy? They are still facing the same situation as those who do. A lack of joy does not make the snow go away, in fact it can make it more difficult to deal with it.
That is the thing about situations out of our control. We can choose to find something joyous about it, we can be unhappy – even angry about it, but that does not change it. In the beginning of James’ epistle, he writes, Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. But endurance must do its complete work, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing, (James 1:2-4 HCSB).
Before the rebuttal begins, let me put this into perspective. James is writing to the believers of the first century church who were scattered due to the severe persecution (the Dispersion or Diaspora -vs.1). He was not telling them to have a party or watch a funny play, he was speaking to something deeper. The reality that the joy we as believers are to experience comes from the Holy Spirit. It comes from the deepest part of our souls, where we find encouragement because we belong to Christ.
Eugene H. Peterson put it this way in the Message:
Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way (James 1:2-4).
The struggles and challenges we face will be with us this side of Heaven until we are called home. We can face them with joy or without joy. Snow eventually melts and springtime comes again. The battles we are fighting are not being fought alone, we are in Christ and He is in us. None of what we are seeing, fighting, or wrestling with will last forever. There will come a time when it is all over. The decision that does need to be made now is, how will you face it, Best Beloved?
The snow is still on the ground. Will you choose joy today?