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. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4
Last weekend I had the privilege of spending the weekend in Redding with my dad. He moved there a few years ago because he found his home at Bethel. Admittedly, my trip to Redding was primarily for the purpose of going to Bethel and spending the weekend with my dad was an added bonus. For a while, my dad had been sharing incredible stories of friends that came to visit and left completely changed by the presence of Jesus. I am all about experiencing Jesus so I had to check it out for myself. I was not disappointed at all.
We met a handful of new friends during our short trip but one really stood out to me. She was a young lady from another country who was attending Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry. In the short time we were able to spend with her she shared her story of tremendous faith. It was Sunday morning and in two days she was being evicted from her apartment because she couldn’t afford to pay her rent. She told us that she was thankful because the Lord had used this to show her that she was spending too much on housing. She went on to say she was excited about her circumstances because it gave her the opportunity to see God come through for her in miraculous ways. She quoted James 1:2 with complete confidence, adding that even if she ended up on the street she would continue to choose joy.
I was in awe of her faith. The last few years have been fraught with intense trials for my family and while I am clinging to Jesus like never before my attitude has never resembled anything close to hers.
I find myself seeking to discover how to go from desperately trying to convince myself that no matter what my circumstances I can stand on the promises of the Word of God to actually finding joy in said circumstances. When I pick up my bible I can read story after story of people who found joy in the presence of Jesus no matter what the reality of their circumstances.
This young lady was a present day example of those stories. She didn’t let her circumstances become bigger than her God. Her story strengthens my faith! As I see others experience Jesus and walk through really tough stuff I am deeply encouraged. I see Jesus using it to pull me a little closer to himself.
In his book Overflow, Chris Gore poses the question, “What would it look like if we discovered that joy is simply an inside job?” Lasting joy can not be found in anything but Jesus. The more we focus on Him, the more we begin to see a heaven perspective and we are not as easily destroyed by reality. It is an amazing place to live! I am only just beginning to experience it myself but I can tell you so far is it is soooooo incredible.
So here’s my question to you, what will it take for you to respond to Jesus? He is drawing all of you in the same way He is pursuing me. My circumstances got me to the end of myself and my only choice was to respond to Jesus. Sadly, it has actually happened twice in my life. Oh how I wish I could have respond to Him long before my breaking point but I’m a stubborn girl. You don’t have to be. Jesus is calling you today. How will you respond?