It's Your Choice

April 26, 2021

Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. James 1:2-3 NLT

Joy is such an interesting commodity. Some people seem to have it all the time and others seem to feel that it eludes them and their lives lack any reason for joy. Going below the surface is always informative and compelling. All of our emotions and the ability to express them are given to us by God. Since He is our personal Designer and Creator, He knows how we work. Since He is perfect love and cares for all of us beyond imagination, without favoritism, we all have the opportunity to know joy. So what’s up here?

Various authors, who enjoyed a vital personal relationship with God, assure us in the Bible that joy is dependent on our own choice. James, the actual brother of Jesus, addressed this issue head on. The believers were in a time of trouble and distress at the time he wrote—not just the normal kind of trouble everyone can count on having, but they were experiencing persecution and harassment. It was a very difficult and challenging time.

In the face of this, James shared truth with them that will bring us great joy if we take it to heart.

Troubles come to Christians. He called them brothers and sisters and said, “…when troubles of any kind come your way...” He didn’t say “if.” We can know they will come, and it never means God has abandoned us or is punishing us.

Consider the trouble or trial an opportunity for great joy. That means it is your choice—my choice. How I handle it, whether it takes me under or makes me stronger, depends on how I “consider”—how I choose to think about it. If I choose to believe that my loving Father is with me, that He will do me nothing but good, I will have joy and contentment.

The joy doesn’t come from denial but from knowing that God is doing something great in me. My faith is being tested, not in the sense that God is a schoolteacher seeing if I pass or fail, but tested in the sense that we would test or stretch our muscles and make them stronger. We can know that as we work through this situation in trust, we will be stronger and better and even more joyful.

It’s my choice—this hard time can either be a terrible period or a period of joyful trust. It depends on my consideration and choice.

  • Where can I trust Him and experience joy right now?