but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.
Proverbs 17: 22 NIV
We all need a dose of joy now and again, and it is great to have a joy-friend. A joy-friend is a great mentor. We not only benefit from their overflowing joy, but we can learn from them. God wants all of us to approach life in a way that embraces trials with joy, keeping in perspective the good work He plans to perform through the trial.
because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.
Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete,
not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God,
who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.
Sunday I did not consider it pure joy when one of my sons wanted little to do with me, and the other was being disrespectful. I screamed, I complained, I cried, and I crawled into bed in the middle of the day. I was angry with both of them, and I was angry and disgusted with myself. My spirit was crushed. I was reluctant to preserver in faith and allow God to work in me. I felt the Lord whispering, “Be still”, but like a stubborn child I refused. I knew I’d feel better if I obeyed God, but I insisted on pouting. I had a pity-party, and I tried to drag my husband into it, but he kindly declined.
God has repeatedly told me to trust Him with my sons.
Jesus tells me, “Consider it pure joy, Kathy, whenever your sons exert independence because I’m working in their lives and yours. They are not rejecting you; they are striving to become men. Trust me; I’m helping them turn from being dependent on you to being dependent on me. Trust that I can work in all of you, and grow the type of faith that endures and is steadfast.”
Lori is truly a gift from God, but she has to care for a full house of her own. God gives us joy-friends to help us, but as a rule of thumb, He wants us to come to Him. He wants to be our source of joy.
I received God’s peace once I was finally still with Him. It also became obvious He wanted me to share this lesson with you. Considering the trials with my sons pure joy, and trusting Him with them. And when I finally still myself and seek His wisdom He teaches me.
Like the last verse in this James passage.
who gives generously to all without finding fault,
and it will be given to you.
But what about those of you who are dealing with big trials. How do you consider it pure joy when you are facing a terminal illness, tragedy, divorce, etc.
Trust God and seek wisdom. Seek wisdom to understand the hope found in Christ. Seek wisdom to understand scripture and study the examples of those who chose to trust God when they faced seemingly hopeless situations.
Take Ruth for example, who lost her father-in-law, her brother-in-law, and worst of all her husband. Ruth persevered. Ruth chose to follow her mother-in-law Naomi and worship the God of Isreal. Ruth submitted to her mother-in-law, followed her back to Isreal, and sought the favor of the kinsman-redeemer, Boaz. Boaz was a Type of Christ because he redeemed Ruth and Naomi from their destitute situation, and he gave them a hope and a future. The same way we receive a hope and a future when we choose to trust Christ.
It is a choice, not an emotion, to consider our trials pure joy. It is a choice to submit to Christ and trust Him to redeem our hopeless situations. Again it is a choice to cling to the faith the Holy Spirit gives us and trust that perseverance will finish its work, so that we will be mature and complete, not lacking anything. Faith in the Almighty God is faith that offers hope and contentment when all odds seem to be against us. God does not promise to answer every prayer the way we want Him to. But we know that He promises that “… in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
but a broken spirit dries up the bones.
Proverbs 17:22 NASB