“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.”
James 1:2-3

I have always admired people who can find joy in everyday situations. Kids have taught their parents to have fun splashing around for a few minutes in the rain. Singing or listening to music has helped people get their work done for centuries.

My husband’s guide dog can even find a way to enjoy his visit to the vet. Most of the dogs and other animals there seem agitated and nervous; we can hear their fearful howls and yelps all through the store. But Tim’s dog loves to run around, sniffing the air and wagging his tail like crazy. Even the doctor’s arrival can’t dampen that dog’s excitement. The doctors have often told us that our dog’s excitement in these situations is quite extraordinary.

I admit it isn’t easy to find joy at the doctor’s or dentist’s office, but then we can all think of lots of instances (paying bills, on-the-job paperwork, computer problems …) when joy has seemingly left the building. But I have come to realize that the joy of God’s everlasting presence with us, and His eternal love for us, will never fade.

Whenever I’m stuck doing something I don’t enjoy, or some unplanned bump in the road comes along, my heart becomes lighter when I realize that God put this chore or situation in my way to test my faith, and to show His love for me. Whatever happens, I know that God makes everything work together for my own good, and that He will never give me more work or bigger problems than I can handle.

Knowing this can help me to find some joy and comfort, no matter what I am doing or going through. God is the greatest and most constant friend I have, and everyone knows tough situations become easier to bear with a good friend by your side.

I believe that God’s loving presence can help you to enjoy all of life too. The road of life contains many bumps and potholes, but if you love and believe in God and recognize His love for you, then He’ll be with you all the way along that road. This knowledge will give you joy, since you won’t have to bear anything alone.

I’d like to close this devotion by clearing something up. Many people confuse the concepts of happiness and joy. Happiness is a temporary state of mind, and it’s in some situations more than others. I’m always very happy when I’m with my husband, and I love certain places like Disneyland or the shopping mall. But happiness doesn’t last forever.

On the other hand, the joy of God’s love is eternal, and I can turn to that joy in any situation. I hope and pray that you will be able to find joy in God’s love, too!