Don’t worry, be Happy?

Dont_Worry_Be_HappySo, how do you now look at James 1:2 which says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds.” I was asked this question by a wonderful friend and Christian brother the other night, in light of my current situation,  I’ve ministered on that and other verses like it for years as I traveled singing and preaching. It’s interesting that James didn’t say be happy in your trial. Happiness is different than joy. Do we think even Jesus was happy going to the cross? In fact, He prayed if it be possible let this cup pass. But the writer of Hebrews says that “For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. To begin with, joy is one of the fruits of the Spirit. The foundation of a believer that walks with God in constant communion. The seed of change (or sanctification) in a Christian’s life. Happy is conditional. Happy is fleeting and depends on circumstances to be maintained. Two different words. Does God want us to be happy? Perhaps but He never promised to make me happy. The word happy is in the New Testament but it appears to be used surrounded with conditions. 2 Corinthians 7:13 We have been greatly encouraged by this. In addition to our own encouragement, we were especially delighted to see how happy Titus was about the way all of you welcomed him and set his mind at ease. 2 Corinthians 7:4 I have the highest confidence in you, and I take great pride in you. You have greatly encouraged me and made me happy despite all our troubles. Luke 15:32 We had to celebrate this happy day. For your brother was dead and has come back to life! He was lost, but now he is found!’” He did, however, promised to develop the fruit of joy in my life. I’m I happy about my current circumstances? No I’m not happy. But I do have a joy in my soul. There  are some other verses that I continue to wrestle with. Like the verse in James that says the prayer of faith will heal. (James 5:15)  I know and I’ve been told that Linda is ultimately healed in the presence of the Lord. While I believe that, I still expected to see her healed physically. Just being honest here. She obviously wasn’t and so I’m not happy about that. But! I have a joy deep within that says God is still in control and He still loves me and He still knows the beginning from the end. I will trust Him through this trial and if James is right, and I’m sure he is, patience will be worked in my life through this trial and I will mature in my faith. (James 1:2-4 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.) Happiness will come and go throughout the rest of my life but my joy in the Lord will be strengthened and deepened. I will no doubt walk closer with Him which is His ultimate goal for me anyway. As Oswald Chambers says, “Holiness, not happiness, is the chief end of man.” But right now? No, I’m not happy.

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