Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation, and the rich in his humiliation, because like a flower of the grass he will pass away. For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. So also will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits. Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. James 1:2-18
Every Christian goes through trials and struggles. The question isn’t whether we will or won’t but how will we handle them when we do. If we aren’t cautious we can become ruled by the adversities in our life and let them rob us of our joy and contentment.
The Have Nots are often plagued by the question, “What if?” What if I have a wreck? What if I lose my job? What if my child gets ill? We could play the “What if” game all day. We are told to not worry about tomorrow because today has enough worries of it’s own (Matt 6) yet we often spend most of today doing just that. I can’t count the hours I have spent worrying about something that hasn’t happened or an outcome that I couldn’t control. All of this worry robs me of my joy and leads me down the path to discontentment and ungratefulness.
We often think of joylessness, discontentment and ungratefulness in relationship to “big” issues. How often do we let the little issues rob us? Do we get frustrated when things don’t go our way? If we had planned our day a certain way, yet our children needed our attention and we got next to nothing done, do we get frustrated? If you have to make an unexpected run to the store for that necessary something for your husband and it takes a couple of hours that you couldn’t spare, do you do it with grumbling or a joyful heart?
The Haves are people who are a joy to be around. No matter their circumstances they have joy in the Lord, are content and thankful for the blessings He has given them. One person in my life jumps to mind when I think about the Haves, Gene’s Aunt Barbara. A few months ago her dear husband that she married when she was 15 died after 57 years of marriage. They didn’t have a funeral for Uncle Bobby, they had a celebration for him. We rejoiced that he was now sitting at the feet of Jesus. At the celebration it was stated that Aunt Barbara never heard Uncle Bobby complain, he was always thankful and trusted the Lord to see him through any trial that he encountered. Below is a picture of Aunt Barbara at Uncle Bobby’s celebration during the song, “How Great Is Our God”. In her left hand she is holding her Bible and one of the dozen roses that Uncle Bobby had delivered to her after his death. I can’t imagine a greater trial to endure, yet she exhibited joy, gratefulness, and contentment while resting in the Lord’s arms.
In 2 Cor 10:5 we are told to take every thought captive, which means we have a choice to be a Have or a Have not. We choose whether a circumstance will leave us feeling defeated or whether we will trust in the Lord and see what He is doing in our lives through our trials. Which do you choose to be?
If we cannot believe God when circumstances seem to be against us, we do not believe Him at all. C. H. Spurgeon