I have vivid memories from the first home I remember as a little girl. On summer evenings I would look for butterflies in our front yard. They seemed to flutter around the large tree that shaded our house as the last dappled sunlight fell. I loved a rainy day. Mom would tuck my pants into my rain boots and I’d jump around as rain bounced off my plastic umbrella. In the summertime, I looked forward to days when Mom would fill my plastic wading pool. What little things brought me joy…
Today, I find joy in watching my grandchildren at the sea shore, collecting shells, trying to outrun waves, and walking sideways, imitating crabs! Family times around our table or riding go carts in the back yard, conversations with my grown children about life, these are the things I treasure.
Differing memories bring joy to each of us, even years after the events our remembrance is vivid. God is the author of that joy, and He takes joy Himself through our happy experiences. But there are some circumstances that lead to the purest joy, not because they are wonderful at the time, but through what they produce inside of us if we put our trust in God:
Consider it nothing but joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you fall into various trials. Be assured that the testing of your faith [through experience] produces endurance [leading to spiritual maturity, and inner peace]. And let endurance have its perfect result and do a thorough work, so that you may be perfect and completely developed [in your faith], lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4
Look for the joy in your trials, for they offer a rich treasure of spiritual strength to those who grow through them. Patience and endurance will bring spiritual strength and maturity if we allow them to do their intended work inside of us. Then we can truly “count it all joy.”