A little over a year ago, between the quiet yellow walls of my Powhatan kitchen, I spent countless mornings at the table with the book of James. Unlike previous years, this season of life was not particularly a difficult one, but rather one of healing, of truth and honesty, a season of understanding grace, and personally redefining what it means to live a life of faith - of expectant faith.
It was in the book of James, in letting those God inspired words wash over my soul, that I was able to open up my hidden wounds and allow healing and forgiveness to fill those dark unexpected vacancies that had shaken my world. It was in those pen strokes that peace calmed the winds of unanswered why's and where's and how's that quivered my spirit. And it was in that book that truth pierced my heart and gave me permission to walk in grace and taught me to become the woman, God fearfully and wonderfully, created me to be.
It was in James's pages, that God led me to revisited those "trails" in my own life, and it was there I discovered that the worst days of my life, became the first days of my testimony. It was in my calamities, in my weakness that opened the way to His glory, to His feat. It was there at that kitchen table, many days not getting much further than verse 5, that I began to understand what James meant when he said "count it all joy."
You can imagine my excitement, when I found out my church was reading through James together. (You can read along with us, just click here).
“To count it all joy.”
Beth puts it simply . . . “those who follow Christ will become more Christ-like because we face difficulties - not in spite of those trials.”
It is not “all joy” because the outcomes to our problems, our situations alway turn out the way we hoped and prayed that they would. It’s not “all joy” because happiness and success always follow our failures and let downs. It’s “all joy” because He’s present in the midst of our troubles. He’s working in the face of our defeats. And He changing us for the better in the middle of life’s moments of devastation. It is there, in the hardest moments of our lives, that the greatest stories of His faithfulness and wisdom can be seen.