Choosing Joy

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, when you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” James 1:2-3

Glancing out the frosty window, I inwardly groaned.  Gray skies, bare trees, and, what-on-earth? Snowflakes!  Not already! Not after a cooler than usual summer. Not so close to last winter, when the lows broke almost every record on record.

I lit a fire in the fireplace, resigning myself to finishing our school day curled up under the blanket on the couch, my back planted firmly against the window framing the offensive weather.

Movement at the nearby sliding doors commanded my attention.  Our homeschooled first grader was lining up all the kitchen chairs like soldiers saluting a queen: two straight rows each facing inward, in anticipation.

“Mommy, come,” she pleaded, a smile on her lips as she deposited an armload of cushions and a fuzzy blanket atop the closest sentry. “I want to watch the snowflakes while you read.”  She continued with her nest-building activity and her chatter, her words of wisdom penetrating my heart.  “God made each snowflake different you know.” She is so excited to watch the snow! I marveled at how that could be.

She perched herself across three chairs, tucking the blanket around her, “Come,” she invited once more.

Watch the snowflakes.  Enjoy the beauty of crisp white flakes floating from heaven almost as if God himself wanted to create a magical moment of wonder to simply captivate a seven-year-old girl.

Ruth was captivated too, but not with wonder. Ruth knew discouragement to the Nth degree. She was a widow, living through a famine, in a foreign land.  But she did not just sit and wallow in her circumstances.  She chose to persevere. She chose to seek out joy, and not turn her back against her new-found God when the circumstances were challenging.

We read in James 1:2-3 “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, when you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.”

While it must have been difficult to remain in the company of someone who was sad and felt God made her life bitter, Ruth did not give up and bail out.  She remained by her mother-in-law’s side.

She counted on God to some how, some way, work it out for good.  And before she could see just how it would work out, she chose joy.  Joy of facing trials head-on.  Joy of trusting God to do the impossible. Joy of waiting, and watching for God to make it right.

Ruth knew everything was in the Lord’s hand.  And when I think about it, I acknowledge that too.  So I have a choice: I can choose anger or dismay.  I can choose to remain in disappointment, wallow in frustration or negativity.

Or, I can choose to see the good in the moment, or choose to search for good in the moments to come. I can choose to see beauty in the setback.  I can choose to search for silver-lining blessings in the snowstorm.

I can choose joy.

 

 

Reflections:

1) What reaction do I choose when facing a squall or full-blown storm?

2) In Ruth 1:16a, Ruth had made the choice, and she stuck with it even when presented with more challenges and hardships. It’s often best to decide on an attitude (hopefully positive and faith-filled!) before circumstances occur.

3) How might I respond differently to life’s challenges if I were to choose a mind-set of joy?

 

Thanks for reading! Please return by Monday, December 8 for the next post.

One thought on “Choosing Joy”

  1. I have the verses Ps. 34:1-4 taped to my desk at work and I recently memorized James 1:2. These are not my favorite verses but, I can surely apply them to my life. So many things that go on in our lives can steal our joy and cause us to be depressed but, as long as I stay focused on God I know I can get through anything.

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