The thing is, that's how my Christmas card would read too. My friend was thinking the same as me - who wants to read THAT Christmas update, but isn't it a tiny comfort to know you're not alone in your fight & build?!
People would say to me, "Count it all JOY when you face trials of many kinds..." quoting James to me (as the life I once knew was disintegrating before my eyes). They meant well, but can I just honestly say I didn't appreciate that. But...if I am going to be truthful, I've said the same thing when people I love have gone through their own personal hell. Let's not tell people that when they're in pain anymore.
You see...in a months time:
- I lost our beautiful home I thought was mine forever.
- I lost my beloved Grandma who was THE family pillar in my life.
- I had several people close to me bring DEEP betrayal to my life...one being my husband. Yes, my husband.
Now I've gained a new perspective on "Counting it all Joy". It's not a belly laugh when your heart is shattered and you feel like you have no hope - it's standing on the truth & promise that things WILL get better. Jesus wasn't grinning ear to ear when he was hanging on the cross. Job wasn't snickering with his friends & playing monopoly when he lost everything and writhing in physical pain. Nehemiah...up for the task, yes - but feeling the giggles, probably not.
The joy James was talking about is a KNOWLEDGE. Knowing that ALL things work together for HIS good, even when we don't understand what that means or looks like. Just know the end will be BETTER.
Counting it all joy is KNOWING God is not ignoring my pain - He did not ignore the pain of His SON on the cross, but was crying alongside Him and looking forward to the moment when this trial was over, and victory is HIS, and OURS.
The JOY of the Lord is our strength is also the simple reminder that HE is not some God out up in the sky that we are to revere. Instead, when we put Him in the center of our heart & circumstances, we can hold onto JOY that whatever we are going through with Jesus as our guide, best friend, and rock, EVERYTHING will work out...so count THAT joy.
There were days that I felt like I got hit by a cannon ball - and each time I was hit, I had NO IDEA what to do in that moment...but I had the peace that passes all understanding; the unexplainable peace knowing somehow things were going to be ok. My peace would leave when I would go into my natural mode of "problem solving". That's when the anxiety, worry, and stress would creep in...because I'm trying to "fix" this big mess. One (of the thousand) nuggets I got from this season is to stay in the place of "I have NO IDEA what to do - but I know who does, so I'm just going to leave it to HIM." That's where I can count it all joy.
The Christmas season is upon us. Now every time I hear the song "Joy to the World", I am reminded it's not always a fuzzy feeling type of joy, but a knowing THE LORD IS COME. LET EARTH RECEIVE HER KING.