We’re back – and it is time for another bible memory verse to wrestle with. This one I am sure you have heard before but what’s it all about? Let’s see if we can take this verse into the week and commit it to memory.
09: 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. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
So I was chatting to Suneel recently, Suneel heads up CVM’s international arm and does an incredible job at it too. As we walked together it was a cold winters night, snow had started to fall and we reflected on some of the trials that we face in our journey as Christian men.
This verse is part of a profound and deeply troubling section of the bible as it provides some context to the trials we face. But also, to a degree it seems to invite / accept the inevitability of them rather than live life trying to avoid them.
The idea here is that having endured trials and difficulties, of many kinds, we will be lacking in nothing! That is a big carrot on a stick to be honest. Who doesn’t want that sort of DNA and life, a life where they are lacking nothing?
Trouble is, the road that this verse begins to describe, the path to get to this goal is a brutal one where not only will you find adversity, but you must consider these trials as pure joy!
Ok, let’s just turn this back a step. So, you say, I’ve been made redundant, seen marriage failure, death, misery, betrayal, bankruptcy, crippling debt or health scares, and somehow this is to be held as pure joy?
Not just joy, but joy in its purest form.
The birth of a new baby is joyful, the surprise birthday party or passing your driving test, that joy right? Not the threat of heart attack, cancer or bailiffs knocking at the door. Or have I missed the point here? Am I confusing joy with happiness?
You know this and I am sure you have seen it before, but happiness isn’t the same as joy. I can be desperately unhappy but experience joy in my life. Perhaps then the best way of describing this joy is by swapping the word to something else, like triumph.
I can feel a sense of triumph even when the wheels have fallen off my life, I can hold onto a present and future hope of triumph that a light will shine again, a new day will come and this trial will relent and I will stand victorious.
Maybe that helps process this one? Either way, this working out and going through trials in our lives can be a source of pure joy. Not one for the faint hearted, but I suspect there are loads of us reading this who can’t explain what this is like but know it happens.
Image Credit: Ben White