by Deb Haggerty
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4 ESV
Count it all joy! How I laughed when I read those words. Count it all joy? You have to be kidding. How can there be joy in my son being killed in an auto accident? How can there be joy when my mom keeps falling and lives in severe pain? How can there be joy when I have no purpose—wasting all the experience I’d gained over the past years?
Then God spoke to me in my spirit. Sometimes, I call my kids home early to prevent a worse situation from occurring. And did not this experience, heartbreaking as it was, draw you and your husband closer together—taking the fallow years and bringing forth togetherness? And your mom is here with Me and your dad and the rest of her family—she’s totally without pain and very happy. And look how much joy you had caring for her—even those very late nights when you listened to make sure she was safe. Look how much you accomplished for Me during those hours with your prayers.
And consider the gift I gave you in your publishing company. You’ve been able to use all those experiences and talents I gave you in service to Me and to your authors and editors. You’ve followed the mission I gave you to come alongside others and work with them to get the words I gave them out to the public in the most professional manner possible. And, Deb, those words have not come back void. You won’t know how many people have been impacted by the books you’ve published until you get home to Me.
And I realized I had been counting it all joy—the trials I’d faced had produced steadfastness—and that I lacked for nothing. The years of wait indeed had weight, not readily apparent to me while I was living through them but very evident now that I am looking back.
I learned for myself the lesson I’d taught in a Bible study almost twenty years ago. Take the Scripture words “count it all joy” and week one, emphasize count, week two the word it, week three all, and week four joy. Say the phrase daily and meditate on the emphasized word. You will find you do count it all joy by month’s end.
I am reminded of the many counted cross-stitch pictures my mom made for me over the years—exceptionally beautiful from the front, not so much so from the back. We may not see the joy as we’re enduring the trials of life, but if we hold these verses tight in our hearts, we will rejoice in the finished picture. In all things—count it all joy!
This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).
About the author: Deb Haggerty runs Elk Lake Publishing and encourages those authors and editors the Lord brings her way. She and her husband, Roy, wrote Experiencing God’s Love in a Broken World. Deb’s memoir is These Are the Days of My Life.
Join the conversation: Have you eventually been able to count a tragedy in your life as a joyful thing? Please share.