Consider It Joy
How do we find joy in all the ups and downs that life inevitably brings?
You make the winning shot. Consider it all joy. You score the dream job. Consider it all joy. You buy a new house. Consider it all joy. There are rumors of layoffs at work. Consider it all joy. Your car breaks down. Consider it all joy. The doctor calls with bad news. Consider it all joy.
Whether your life is going as planned being turned upside down, do you consider it all joy?
Life is full of seasons. Some are good, filled with love, laughter, and rich blessings of abundance. Others can be full of anger, sadness, and pain. Sometimes it is a cruel combination of both. Through all this though, the Bible says to consider it all joy when you face trials of many kinds.
How is this possible? How can God expect us to consider all things joy?
As Christians, our joy comes from the knowledge that we are saved in grace through Christ. We have the hope of eternity in Heaven, and the promise that God will work everything for His good. We are comforted knowing that no trial is wasted, and that nothing happens in our lives without approval from God himself.
Does this mean that we always parade around with smiles plastered on our faces and pep in our step?
Of course not.
Joy is not happiness. Happiness is a feeling. It is wonderful, light and fun, but it is fleeting. Like our time on the Earth, it is but dew on the grass. Joy, on the other hand, is lasting. Joy gives us the freedom to feel the pain, the anger, and the sadness that life can throw at us. We can feel it deeply, and then we can look to Jesus, knowing that because of him, one day we will not have to feel this ever again. We look to him knowing that he will use our trials and tears on the earth to refine us, to produce a steadfast faith and perseverance that will sustain us to the end.
As our Lord says in John,
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
And as the apostle says in James,
Find joy, through prayer and supplication, not only in the good times, but also the bad. 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. (James 1:2-4)
So whether you are feeling up or down, let us pray that we consider it all a permanent joy that we worship the Lord and Savior who has overcome sin and suffering.
Zack Barth is a former Capitol Hill staffer and current MBA student. He and his wife, Courtney, live in Houston.