I LIKE MY JOY STRAIGHT UP, or maybe neat: pure, with no rocks at all.
But is that what joy is all about?
Webster’s calls joy “the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires.” So when all’s right with the world: Ah, joy….
Then why does St. Paul say, after describing more troubles than anyone should have to bear, that he is “sorrowful, yet always rejoicing”? (2 Corinthians 6:10)
Why does James begin his letter, “Consider it all joy…when you meet various trials”? (James 1:2)
It seems there’s something different going on in the Christian definition of joy. In fact, to the Christian, trials and testing are actually reasons for joy. Here are some things I discovered, looking through the New Testament. But don’t take my word for it: I’ll list them with their references so you can do some discovering on your own:
- Trials give us a share in Christ’s suffering (1 Peter 4:12-13)
- Trials give us a share in Christ’s comfort, equipping us to minister to others (2 Corinthians 1:4-6)
- Trials build maturity and character (James 1:2-4. Note also Catechism, 2847!)
- Trials yield eternal gain (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)
- Trials allow God’s strength to show through me (2 Corinthians 12:9-10. While you’re at it: you might as well read all of 2 Corinthians)
- Testing builds faith and brings joy (Philippians 4:13)
- Testing refines us, conforms us to Christ (1 Peter 1:6)
I think I’ll take my joy on the rocks after all.
© 2015 Sarah Christmyer.