Weekly word – 5/09/24

Choose Joy!

Consider it a great joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you experience various trials, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing. James 1:2-4

I'm pretty sure that I've written an article on joy sometime in the past. I think it's good to be reminded time and time again about choosing joy in our lives. We can approach difficulty and trials in different ways. We can either get disappointed, discouraged and even outright angry when things don't go our way, or we could choose to be joyful. I was reminded of this today because of a recent occurrence in the lives of family members of mine. I have 3 nieces who live in Oklahoma. I know, it's a far stretch from Hawaii. Nonetheless, the youngest of the 3 made one of her favorite sayings, "Choose Joy!" She was known for saying that about difficult circumstances in her life or as she comforted or counseled others. She even made a wall hanging with those words painted boldly in large letters. 

She became seriously ill at an early age and God called her home in her early thirties. These words "Choose Joy" were put on her headstone and her older sister kept her painted sign and hung it in her guest house. 

The recent tornado that swept through Oklahoma last month completely leveled this guest house and sent debris everywhere. Among the rubble of the guest house laid this painted sign in pristine condition. This was a great reminder for my niece who inherited that sign. Amongst the difficult situation they found themselves in and the loss of their guest house, she was reminded to choose joy and be thankful for the things that they had and how God continues to bless them. This same tornado went through the small town of Sulphur and caused significant damage. My niece and her husband own and operate a dental office and a pharmacy in Sulphur. Neither of their businesses were touched by the tornado. 

Some of you know that I'm currently dealing with a vision problem in my left eye. While this is a nuisance and puts a damper on "my" life and plans, I find peace and comfort in knowing that God knows about it and can heal it if He chooses. Either way, I can choose to be joyful in knowing that this too, will, and has tested my faith. I can either get anxious, worried, or get upset, but none of that will cause my eye to heal. Instead, I will choose joy, and learn to trust. If this is something that becomes permanent, I need to remain faithful, be thankful and remain joyful in my circumstances. 

All of our difficulties, trials, and testing, are part of a refining process that God uses to shape and transform us according to His purpose. Trials and difficulty in our lives may be minor irritations or it could be a major crisis that shakes us to the core. In all cases, God knows what we need, and when we cling to Him, we lack nothing. His ultimate goal is for us to become more like Christ.

Pastor Bryan