There once was a woman who was out shopping and she ran into a good friend of hers at the grocery store. Her friend inquired, “How are you doing today?” The woman replied gloomily, “I’m okay, under the circumstances.” Her friend with a gentle smile asked, “What are you doing under there?”
I share this story not to make light of the heartaches and challenges that we face from time to time. But to take a serious look at how do we handle the hard things of life. I don’t know about you but there are some days where I would love to shut the whole world out and just go back to bed. Of course when you have two little boys, life does not slow down or stop because you have a difficult day.
Whenever I face trials or tribulations I remember the verses that I studied in James 1:2-4 “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
At first glance you wonder what does James mean by “pure joy”, how can anyone have that when they have a troubled heart?
I think we often confuse joy and happiness with each other. Happiness is dependent upon the circumstances in my life and how I respond to whether they are good or bad. Happiness is a feeling. Joy is a sense of well-being, it is the condition my heart and soul; that comes only from knowing Jesus as my friend and my savior. When my Grandmother died I experienced the kind of pain where it hurts to breathe because my heart was heavy with grief. But at the same time I experienced joy because I knew that my Grandma was now resting in the arms of Jesus.
Perseverance means to go through the severe things of life. We can go through those things with joy in our heart because we know that Jesus walks with us. We are never alone in our sorrows, He is right there holding our hand and bringing peace to our wounded hearts and souls.