Dream word – SUM
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds.” NIV
The whirling dervish of Sunny Delight
After a call from a good friend for some immediate support and prayer, Matilda, having put her own four young children finally to bed, is pleased to see Jocelyn arrive at her door bearing gifts of wine and chocolates. After putting the kettle on and grabbing a nice cup of tea, they sit down together. Matilda, weary and just a little bleary eyed, is now faced with a very concerned and frightfully angry friend, sitting fidgeting in fury on the couch just across from her.
“So, he’s finally left you then dear? I’m so sorry. How are all the kids coping? What are you going to do about your part time job, about the mortgage, the car payments? Good grief Matilda! The scumbag! She’s half his age for goodness sake! Did you know this affair was going on? I know how much you loved him, I mean, how could he have done this to you all? I’m sorry sweetie, I’m just so angry and I’ve not even asked you what’s your take on it all? Do you think he might come back? What do you think about it all my poor, sweet, long suffering beautiful, little friend?”
“Well hon, quite frankly, I consider it a bottle full of bright yellow sunshine delight! Yes, I consider it all joy! You know how grouchy I can get with the children, and of course, my poor hubby Marlon, bless him, well he must have been feeling it so much, poor man. Which is why I think he ran away with his busty young secretary. No, really, this whole situation will give me ample opportunity to learn to be more patient. More patient in waiting for him to come back, more patient with Marlon Junior, especially as his wheelchair still keeps scraping the new paint on the walls. I’ve hated that! No, it’s all good, for I can be more patient with our mechanic, after all he has to make a living as well, and four visits in the past week to keep that pile of junk on the road, well, I’m sure it’s been worth it. No, for me to learn patience in these trying circumstances is such a joy Jocelyn. Hey! What are you doing girl, where are you going?”
“Well sweetie, I’m just ringing the doctor. I think you’re in shock. I don’t think you’re quite in your right mind. I think you need to help, some pills, just for a little while maybe, a bit of counselling, not too much mind, just enough to get you back on a level playing field. ‘Hello Doctor… just a second...’ Matilda, get the cork screw sweetie, it’s in the kitchen, third draw down? Got it? Good. Now pour yourself a drink and grab a few caramels for yourself. Just stick ‘em in your gob and start chewing and drinking and I shall be back in a mo! ‘Yes hello, doctor, I’m ringing about my friend, Matilda Maniac, yes, well I’m afraid she’s lost it!’”
Pure Joy. Not mixed with grief, not marred by even a speck of lack of faith, not even a smidgen of doubt, not one little dash of anger, no, I’m talking about pure joy. Yes, consider your trials, then add them up to appear at the bottom of your spreadsheet as quite simply, pure joy! Now frankly, I find this particular Bible verse to be a most stupid and outrageous, grossly offensive and mad little statement I have ever heard! Yet two important things can be dragged screaming from the madness of James the writer.
First, not that there may be troubles ahead, no, but rather, there will be troubles ahead. Various and vicious temptations of every kind, each with a barbed design to make you deny both God and His goodness, will come upon you with a vengeance. Arm yourself therefore. Be prepared then. For, if you think that becoming a Christian is designed to make your life easier, then you are in for a shock! No, in terms of all the troubles and trials common to mankind, then we are most definitely not the sheltered select nor the protected elect! Troubles will come upon you.
So secondly, when we come across such trials, when they are quite literally thrown and strewn across our way like fallen timber across a railroad track, we should not be surprised! Grieve! Get grouchy, go kick a few trees and even break a few glasses, but save one of them mind you, because for your survival and your victory, nay, even for your redemption and the redemption of others, at some point, you will have to go and pour yourself a large glass of Sunny Delight! Yes, you will at some point, have to count it all joy, for it is very often so very true, that “outlook determines outcome, and in consequence then, attitude most definitely determines action and then just for good measure, it is also our personal values which determine our evaluation.”
Brethren, I think it quite mad to evaluate the most terrible trials as joy. However, Christianity does often appear to be a stark staring wild madness, which dances in the face of brutal reality, a whirling Dervish of happy hope smiling through tears in the face of terrible temptations. Oh yes it does! It would appear then that we Christians have a choice to make when faced with terrible trials. True discipleship will always teach us to face this fact and then make room for such a seemingly maniacal choosing of joy. So, in the face of such terrible trials, which will most surely come upon you, tell me, what will you choose?
Listen: “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” - Hebrews 12:1-2 NKJV.
Pray: Lord, I read these verses and I think, “You have got to be kidding me!” I tell You Father, I don’t like them! Yet nevertheless, there they are. Help me then with my judgement, with my faith accounting especially. Then O Lord, help me to crack open that Sunny Delight and start gulping down the goodness. Lord, let the wild dance of redemption begin, even in the face of crowding calamities. In Jesus name I pray, amen!
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