How exciting to get our first taste of snow this winter season! My kids jump at the chance to miss a day of school to go out and play in the snow. They are filled with joy as they make snow angels and throw snowballs at each other. Even our dog likes to go outside and try to catch snowballs!
This Sunday as we discuss the Advent season, we will be focusing on joy. I saw joy in my kids as they frolicked in the snow. It is easy to find joy during times like this when things are going well, but it can be more difficult to find it when they are not.
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. – James 1:2-3
James said we should consider our trials to be pure joy, but how can we find joy when we are hurting, struggling, and grieving? At times I have believed that happiness equates to joy, but happiness is a fleeting emotion that never stays. Joy is a gift from God through the Holy Spirit. We may not always feel happiness, but we can find joy when we focus on what we know is true.
I find joy in knowing that no matter what happens to me, my family, or in the world, nothing can take away the salvation I have in Jesus Christ. As Christians we know what will happen, we are assured of Christ’s return and our eternity! When we look at our circumstances through that lens, we are able to find the joy of God even during difficult times because we know that any suffering we may experience is temporary.
This week Pastor Wayne will be leading us through Acts 4:23-31 as we turn our attention to the sovereignty of God. The early church faced many hardships including imprisonment and death, but they recognized God’s sovereignty through all circumstances and they were able to find joy. God has a plan for me and for you just as He had a plan for the early church. I pray you find joy in knowing you can trust God completely during this advent season and all year long.