James 1:2 – Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, (HCSB)
Joshua 1:9 – Haven’t I commanded you: be strong and courageous? Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. (HCSB)
Lord. I’m sitting here with my coffee and feeling a little melancholy. As I walked through my neighborhood this morning, I saw the first yellow and red leaves of Autumn, and I’m not ready!! I’m not ready for my flip flop wreath to leave my door. I’m not ready for my flip flop flag to leave my yard. I am definitely not ready for my flip flop shoes to leave my feet! I plan to hold onto Summer with the tightest grip I can muster for as long as possible. But, Autumn is calling out the warning that is given at the beginning of so many children’s games – “ready or not, here I come”. I can refuse to face the changes as long as I want, but the only thing I will accomplish is having a silly wreath on my door, a silly flag in my yard, and some very cold and silly looking toes! Lord, I think You must look at the silly people who live every day refusing to face the changes that occur with life, and it must make You melancholy. Instead of trusting You to handle the changes, we pout and become petulant children. Change is not easy for us – sometimes change is uncomfortable, sometimes it is heartbreaking, sometimes it just does not fit into what we had planned. People don’t really enjoy change. In Ecclesiastes 3:1, Solomon tells us there is a time for everything; then he goes on in verses 2-8 to make a list of changes that take place in life. I think of the great men of faith who had to face changes – difficult changes – changes that did not fit in at all with what they had planned. Abraham had to make some difficult changes in his life. “Difficult” doesn’t really cover the changes that Daniel and Joseph had in their lives!! James 1: 2 says to consider it joy every time you face trials. WHAT???? JOY??? When I think of joy I think it is synonymous with words like happiness and delight. Do You really want me to be happy that I have trials? Are you telling me to be delighted when not only is my life not going as I’d planned, but I seem to be in a deep pit? Your word tells me there is a difference between joy and personal pleasure. Joy comes from a right relationship with You. Joy is not situational; it’s a way of life. Change can be frightening. Change can be exciting. We may be totally ready for a change or totally blindsided by a change. But, ready or not, changes will come in our lives. Life may change, but the Bible tells us that You never change. Help me to always keep in the front of my mind and heart that my joy does not come from my situation, but joy in You gives me strength to face the changes that will come in life.