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Joy In The Suffering




James 1: 1-8

Count it ALL Joy…….

Sufficient Joy

Lasting Joy

True Joy


In the first chapter of the book of James we are told to count it ALL Joy when we fall into various trials.


Is the joy found in the pain? Is this some sadomasochism philosophy? (google the word if needed) Should I be joyful when my spouse gets diagnosed with cancer? Should I be joyful when I lose my job and have no idea how to support my wife and children?Should I be joyful when depression overwhelms me in the winter months (for no apparent reason) and I can’t seem to escape the nagging physical and mental anguish?


The answer is a resounding NO!


Go deeper! 


God’s word is instructing us to something much deeper. A deeper joy that is out of this world! A joy that can sustain us as Jesus modeled even through a horrible death on a cross. Hebrews 12:2 Tells us that for the Joy that was set before Him, he endured the cross. What was this future hope that produced the Joy that Jesus felt? Certainly not the painful experience of crucifixion. Something much deeper was driving Him.

He saw the plan His Father had of saving the human race from their fallen position. In relationship with the Father, a way was made for salvation and because of the future Joy ahead of Him, he was able to endure the cross.


That brings me to a second point:


Receive God’s unique personal Love to experience Joy! A Loving relationship with God fuels our Joy in Christ. Like air to a flame when we receive and soak in His personal Love for us, we can begin to see the spark of deep joy flare up within our hearts. Its impossible to have joy in God without knowing He loves you with a pure love. God’s Love is foundational to knowing that God is good, and He has got you. We can be fully known in our own unique way and fully loved by the God who created us. 


The sufferings of life can make us doubt God’s goodness. We begin to doubt God’s goodness and are swayed back and forth just like a wave in the ocean being tossed around. Unstable, as James puts it in the next few verses.


  • Vs. 5 “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach…..”

  • Vs. 6  “but let him ask in faith…..”


The good news is God gives freely when we seek Him! He is not mad at us or distant. There are no cosmic hoops we need to jump through only that we turn to Him in faith and receive his love, wisdom, and guidance.


Application:


How can you begin to receive the Love of God and flame the gift of Joy daily?


  1. For some it may be going on a walk to imagine His loving arms around you. (Monks use to do this, google it for reference)

  2. For some it may be an act of surrender. Imagine putting all your obsessive worries and compulsions into a bag and turning them over to your Father in exchange for His Love and Joy. This is difficult but with much practice we can begin to trust Him and let go. We worship of a “Living God!” God is NOT Dead!

  3. After receiving the love and nurture from God begin to write a list of things you are grateful for.

  4. What other creative ways has God called you to receive His Love that produces Joy? Be creative come up with your own.



 

Author: Mr. John Daniels

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