Gathering Together

                                              All Joy

 

—“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.” (James 1:2)

Consider my sufferings pure joy? How can I do this when my life is in chaos? How can I do this when my joy seems to be all gone? Why should I even bother? I don’t feel like it. Instead, I feel angry, depressed, lonely, and afraid. I feel like I’m being betrayed.

Betrayed? What would you think if a parent handed his fifteen year-old child the keys to the family car without any preliminary instruction, practice, or guidance? You would think he was being a bad parent and a foolish car owner. Not only would he be setting his child up for imminent harm and failure, he would be inviting destruction to his car.

It’s the same way with God. He has a purpose for us—tearing down strongholds, fighting the spiritual battle against sin that rages around us, and bringing lost souls to Christ. But He has the wisdom to first give us driving lessons. Commanding the freeway isn’t easy, and to zoom into it immediately would be disastrous. So, He starts us at the driveway, and then graduates us to the block, to the street, and so on. Only when He knows we’re ready—whether we think we are or not—will He send us into the freeway.

And don’t worry. We won’t be perfect. Inevitably, we’ll get into a few scrapes. But God will not abandon us. He’ll be right there to direct us through the traffic and give us joy in the mean time. For, as James says, trials develop perseverance and harden our spiritual muscle and resolve. In the same way, challenging moments make us better drivers.

— “It is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. It is good for a man to bear the yoke while he is young.” (Lamentations 3:26,27)

By Lindsay Base