Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about that phrase, “it’s a hard walk” and contrasting it with “count it all joy.”
For many years, I lived in the hard walk. I didn’t know the beauty that came with recompense. No one had ever taught me that Jesus would repay me for all the trouble I go through. He only asked that I “count it all joy” while walking through the fire.
But counting it all joy seems to always come at the inopportune moment. Death. Despair. Job loss. Misunderstanding. Yes, counting it all joy smacks me in the face and reminds me that there is another reality—one where I am seated in Christ at the right hand of the Father.
“Count it all joy,” the still small voice whispers while my heart is torn in pieces and the pressure to give in overwhelms me to the point of screaming at the wall.
Down on my knees with nothing but tears in my eyes, I have learned to do one thing.
Raise my hands in holy worship, declaring: You are good. You are good. Yes, Jesus, you are good.
Taking up my cross daily is necessary because it is the key that unlocks the joy on the horizon. Every trial, temptation, and challenging road placed before me ends at the oasis of the Good Shepherd’s delight. I recall that I can’t get to the table prepared for me unless I walk through the valley of the shadow of death.
So, I remind myself to keep trekking and not make a home in the current valley. It’s that beautiful, and yes, that simple. And counting it all joy in my walk with Jesus brings me to new levels in my God-given identity even while facing the darkness.
Every time the enemy hurls insults and condemnation, I raise my hands in defiance. God is good. His promises are true. And most importantly, He is the One who carries all my cares and worries. I trust Him. Why?
He, better than anyone else, knows the price of finding joy amid the trial.
The joy of obedience amid the trial
I sometimes think about the Savior, and how He stared down Golgotha with blood in His eyes. He scorned the misery He was put through, but looked forward to the recompense.
It causes me to ask:
- Can I look to God as my reward and stare down my trial?
- Will I walk worthy of Jesus and His sacrifice?
This is when the Holy Spirit breathes on me. He reminds me of the times we walked in bliss, and how marvelous the Father’s love is! Sweeter than honey from the honeycomb.
He takes me down memory lane and surging within me is the joy of freedom. For freedom Christ set me free. And the well He dug in me is bubbling over with life itself.
Nothing in this life is ever easy, but the call to obey always ends in the ecstasy of knowing Jesus Himself and feeling His heart. So, as I stare down the trial the answer becomes clear:
I must count it all joy for He is worthy of my happiness even in the darkest hell. Amen.