Peaks of Joy

Pastor Ed Young - Lead Pastor of Fellowship Church
Ed Young

March 1, 2024

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Peaks of Joy

Read

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

Think

No one ever signs up for a life filled with sorrow and pain. We wouldn't eagerly tell God, "Yes, please bring on the heartbreak and pain!" But as we journey in our faith, we come to understand that skipping over these hardships would be a tragedy. We'd miss out on the ultimate good that God can bring about in our lives.

James reminds us to "consider it all joy when we face trials and are tested." Easy to say when the biggest trial we face is getting our order wrong at Chick-fil-A, right? But what about those deeper hurts? The ones that linger too long, disappoint too deeply, or feel like they'll never go away?

Slapping some "we should be joyful about this" verses on top of the hard things can feel downright cruel. It's like making a bad joke about something excruciatingly painful. It's just too soon for that kind of nonsense.

That's why I appreciate that these verses don't tell us to "feel the joy," but rather to "consider where some glimpses of joy might be even in the midst of all the hurt." It's about shifting our perspective, even when it's hard.

Understanding how to “consider joy” rises and falls on whether we truly trust God in the midst of what our human minds can't comprehend as good at all. It's a challenge. Think of it like going fishing: getting up early? No thanks. Putting a slimy worm on the hook? Pass. But feeling the warmth of the sun? Definitely a plus. And if it gets too hot, let's skip that part. We may not enjoy the chaos of the fishing process, but just like a master fisherman has reasons for everything, Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, has reasons for allowing dry times and hard times.

Yes, we may have to endure some chaos in the process, but ultimately, our lives will become a basket of hope, grace, peace, and comfort to others. That's how we can consider it pure joy today.

We can also make peace with the fact that sorrow and celebration can coexist in our hearts authentically. We don't have to choose one over the other. We can simply embrace both. And giving ourselves permission to feel both is liberating on every level.

So let's sit with and tend to all that still needs to be healed, while also laughing, planning for great things ahead, and declaring this a glorious day. Because amid it all, God is with us, bringing beauty from ashes and joy from pain.

Apply

Read 2 Corinthians 4:16-18. Paul encourages us to focus on the eternal rather than the temporary challenges we face. Write down three eternal promises that bring you comfort during difficult times.

Pray

Heavenly Father, your Word reminds me that even in my darkest days you are with me. Teach me to lean on your strength and to rely on your guidance. Give me the courage to walk through adversity with faith and confidence, knowing that you are leading me and that your plans for me are good. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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