Counting it all Joy: Pt. 3

People often ask me why I sign all of my emails, and other correspondence with the words, "Counting it all Joy."  Today is Part 3 of that explanation which comes from the book of James 1:2: "...count it all joy when you fall into various trials."   

Alexander Solzhenitsyn was a Soviet dissident during the Cold War era. He was thrown into a concentration camp by the communist government, which was for many a death sentence.  

At one point he was breaking rocks and digging--hard labor that he knew would never end. All seemed lost, and hopeless.  He laid his shovel aside and sat down on a bench, knowing that at any moment a guard would most likely come up to him and beat him to death with the butt of a gun. 

He felt a presence next to him on the bench and looked over to see another prisoner, a thin, drawn man who had been in the gulag longer than Alexander.  The man took a stick and drew on the ground in front of Alexander and then quietly got up and walked away. 

When he looked down on the ground, Alexander saw that the man had drawn a cross.

Something washed over Alexander in that moment that he was not expecting:  hope.  He realized in that moment that even in his darkest hour, the Cross was a symbol that God was with him. 

What are you going through right now? 

Does it seem too much to bear?  Have people been telling you that God is just testing you? Have you started to wonder what the heck God is up to?  Have you secretly begun to doubt that all those things you learned about God, might not be true? 

James wrote that when you are feeling that way---to rejoice.

James teaches us that the way to joy in suffering comes when we begin to ask the right questions:  Not "Why is God doing this to me?" but "Where is God in this?" 

We can continue to see God as distant, demanding and arbitrary... or We can look through a Jesus-tinged lens like James and see a God who is close, loving, present and completely on our side. 

Because how we respond to hard times reveals the nature of our relationship with God.  

May the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen. 

I will be on vacation with my family for the next week and I've decided to treat that week as a Sabbath when it comes to publishing the daily devos.  The daily devos will resume on Monday, August 14th.  Until then, blessings...  


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