"Don't let your well-being depend on your circumstances. Instead, connect your joy to God's precious promises." This passage was found in my Jesus Calling devotion book this morning. It is a theme that has been going through my head for a couple of weeks now. My daughter-in-law covered the subject well a couple weeks ago in her blog called, “A Pilgrimage to a Promise”. pilgrimagetoapromise.blogspot.com/ I encourage you to read it. Since the subject is still rolling around in my head, I will proceed to share some of my thoughts as well.
Happiness is a result of our circumstances; however joy is a choice we make in spite of our circumstances. When adverse circumstances hit us in the face every day, it's difficult to keep it from affecting our well-being. My body fights back at every attempt at productivity whether it is laundry, cooking, washing my hair, or anything else that uses my hands. However, it's exactly in those circumstances that God calls us to choose joy… to connect our joy to His promises. James 1:2-4 states, "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." The Message version says, “Consider it a sheer gift when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed not deficient in any way." It's God's promise that if we persevere through adverse circumstances we become mature and well developed. And this is not without His help. He also promises to never leave us nor forsake us. (Deuteronomy 31:6) He promises to meet all our needs according to his glorious riches. (Philippians 4:19) He promises that nothing in all creation will be able to separate us from his love. (Romans 8:38-39) And with God's promises comes contentment and ultimately peace. This is pure joy… so much deeper and more fulfilling than mere happiness. The joy of the Lord is my strength. (Nehemiah 8:10)