Skip to main content

Pure Joy

from the Complete Jewish Bible
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. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.

That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.

Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.

I think of James often.  Well, I suppose I can't say I think of James, himself, but of his words.  Since I definitely affirm that James is my favorite book of the canon, I can easily say that I meditate on his words, find myself quoting him often, as well as recognizing them in conversations and writing.  I consider the 'count it all joy' concept daily, both in times of ease and difficulty.

I often contemplate how I can find joy in pain, heartache and brokenness.  Sure, with difficulty comes growth in character, perseverance and patience without doubt.  I learned early on in my homeschooling career, that when one of my precious students was confronted with a particularly difficult concept, the growing pains were obvious.  Reluctance, resistance and angry tears was their response, time and time again.  "I just can't do it!" was something we not only say as children when those growth opportunities present themselves, but as adults, as well.  It was a lesson I learned well with my kids; persistence, patience and reassurance of my constant presence always brought them through those tough learning milestones.  I am convinced that our Heavenly Father feels the same, and hence our admonition from James.

Our Father knows what lies ahead and how it will all end, without a doubt.  But we, in our finite view, can only see the immediate; only feel the sting of rejection, the passion of wanting things to turn out a certain way or the pain of insulting injury.  I have to regularly chide myself to find it all joy when I'm deep in the middle of a no-win situation or when the twists and turns leave me stranded in a strange place.  Count it all joy, he says.

Trying to be joyful definitely helps the attitude when you are down in the least we think it should, right?  Can I force myself to feel joyful when I just lost my mother to a wretched heart attack?  Or when a dear friend is enduring a horrible personal situation?  Perhaps this joy is deeper than a happy facial expression and kind thoughts; maybe it's the deep knowing that comes with a confirmed relationship with the One who holds my life in His hands.  The joy of knowing that He has things well in hand, and will not let the enemy steal what's most important from me, and that is the love and acceptance of Mashiach and ultimately of the Father Himself.  That joy comes from knowing that He can, and will, use me even while I am reeling from the type of heartbreak that grips your breath and mind.  That kind of joy is shown when a hurting soul crosses your path, compelling you to reach out to them in benevolence.  That's joy.  The joy of serving others.  Pure joy that is expressed in living love and compassion.

James says that there is a rather positive consequence when we count it all joy.  He says that the result of testing and difficult times results in developing perseverance.  Perseverance for what?  More testing?  Great...

But wait, this is a good thing.  As we develop perseverance (persistent determination, patience, endurance, more patience...) we will grow in our maturity as believers and inevitably show more fruit of the Ruach (love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control).  And, as we grow in maturity, we grow closer in our relationship with Hashem.  And as we grow closer to Him, we pray more, we spend more time in His word, we give more...we love more.  We become less judgmental and more accepting of the differences of others.  We meet others where they are so we can truly help them when they are in need.  Yes, maturity that results in loving G-d deeply and loving each other in a way that nourishes and edifies all around us.  Building each other up...building community, even.  I'd have to say that is a rather positive outcome, or harvest, from counting our trials as all joy.

Are you going through a difficult season?  (Believe me, I'm right there with you.)  If we are believers in the Most High, we can rest assured that He has things under control.  Not only that, but He wants better things for us, He wants us to grow.  James could easily be saying, "Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and take a deep breath."  It's time to embrace our experiences, learn from them, persevere and keep walking in righteousness as well as we can.  Continuing in prayer and praise and walking so close to Him that we can feel His presence right beside us.  And we can do this because we know that He is persistently and reassuringly urging us to make it through this milestone to the other side.  What awaits you, and me, is maturity and completeness that lacks nothing.  Nothing.  Lacking nothing.  Not lacking wisdom, not lacking knowledge, not lacking fellowship with Him.  I like lacking nothing, personally.

James would be pleased that I definitely want to count it all joy, without question.

Now, if the LORD will give me the strength to do it, I'll be eternally grateful.
Joyfully so.


Ari C'rona said…
I have to say that your words bring a smile to my face! Yes and yes! All those wonderful things that come from persevering in trials bring true joy - something far beyond what we can produce ourselves no matter how hard we try. Oh, we serve a great and awesome G-d!

Thank you, my dear friend - I do count it all joy!
Mama Cache said…
Loved reading this, my friend. Praying that He will strengthen you, just as you have written.

Love you!
Sue KuKu said…
What a great meditation. Thank you!

"We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose."

Romans 8:28


Popular posts from this blog

Our History with Saber Forge

UPDATE, April 19, 2012: we purchased new sabers from Ultra Saber LLC. To see a review, go HERE.
* * *
Saber Forge's Ambassador saber hilt
This post is to document and record the history of our experience with a company called Saber Forge. I would like this information to serve as information and perhaps a warning to all that are interested in purchasing a machined lightsaber, and/or are considering Saber Forge.

Saber Forge makes and sells lightsabers to be used as props with Star Wars costumes. When we started looking to purchase lightsabers that had the ability to light, Lisa posted for information on the Rebel Legion website. She was contacted by Mr. Phil Isherwood, owner of SaberForge.

Saber Forge

It is most unfortunate that we have had problems with the sabers. I love the hilt, to be honest, and felt that we got what we paid for; however, the lingering problems and now the complete lack of customer service is most troubling.

[We were so excited about purchasing these blades…

Just Throwin' It Around

I have a friend who just got engaged to be married. As he was detailing the way he proposed to his beloved, something he said caught my attention. In the course of his adult life, dating and living, he had promised himself that he would only use the actual word love towards the one who he was going to marry. He further explained that it was his thought that people 'throw the word love around carelessly' and that it had a special meaning, one meaning. For him, it was only to be used in speaking to his soon-to-be wife.

I can see his point, especially when thinking about dating. I know it happens, all too often, that relationships proceed a little too quickly and emotions peak prompting hasty pronouncements of love and devotion only to be rescinded down the line, after the passion has worn off. Careful and introspective we must be when experiencing and building a new relationship that we don't bite off more than we can chew, so to speak. I agree with my engaged friend - w…


I am a maker and collecter of Artist Trading Cards. In my world, we call them "Letterboxer Trading Cards", because they are made by letterboxers and they must have a hand-carved stamp featured on the card. I have made hundreds, even thousands of these cards, and enjoy the hobby immensely (samples shown are a few of my cards). I also collect them from other artists and letterboxers, and have a collection numbering (also) in the thousands.

So, here's the confession: I HATE LOGGING THEM! Yes, that's right, I said 'hate'. I know, that's pretty strong, but it is the only way I can adequately describe the feeling of dread that comes over me the second after I enjoy receiving them in the mail. If I were a disciplined person, I would immediately make my way to the computer, sign into to my favorite letterboxing site and let these wonderful friends know how much I love their efforts, thus easing their minds that their hard work arrived safe and sound in my care. Bu…