Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Count It All Joy

One of my favorite things to do when I was younger was listen to Adventures In Odyssey, a children's radio show produced by Focus on the Family.  It appealed to me on many levels, both artistically and spiritually, because it was easy to relate to the characters and their dilemmas.  On the top of my most-listened-to episodes was one called "Count It All Joy." The episode centers around the Biblical principle of joy, and the difference between joy and happiness (two words that most people consider synonyms).  The verse given is James 1:2-3: "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know the testing of your faith produces perseverance."

As the episode goes on, we learn that just trying to be happy all the time is not what this verse is talking about...and it's not exactly healthy either.  As Christians, we are often expected to always be happy. And why shouldn't we be? If our faith is as awesome as we profess, why should we ever be upset? As nice as it would be to always have a smile on, we also have to realize that we're only human.

This verse is not telling us to be happy when we lose our jobs or face illness or just feel off every once in a while.  No...joy is much more than plastering a smile on our faces no matter what.  Joy is the assurance that Christ is with us, even during our toughest times.  The trials we face are meant to produce perseverance, or patience as another translation states, and bring us closer to Him.  Simply bottling our true feelings up under false pretenses will only lead to an outburst, most likely aimed at someone who did nothing to deserve it.  Instead, we should be aware of our feelings and realize that all that we endure is meant to bring us closer to our Savior and Creator.

So, even though we may not face the most ideal situations in life, we should always look to God for what He wants us to see in each of our circumstances.  :)

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