“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” James 1:2-4
“You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Psalm 16:11
In coastal South Carolina where I lived for many years there was a little road called ALL JOY ROAD. I didn’t travel it often. Rarely in fact. But every once in a while through the years I found myself on it. I didn’t fully comprehend, and grasp, and put into practice in the least back then that All Joy Road wasn’t just a little road off the beaten track in coastal South Carolina. All Joy Road is a road Christ’s followers are called to walk – each and every day, regardless of where we are geographically, regardless where we are in our circumstances, regardless of what we face.
The Lord reminded me of this one day after a few challenging days and relatively stressful months. I had been very stressed out, exhausted, miserable, and felt like I was at my wit’s end regarding a particular situation. How could I press on? Undeniably only in the Lord’s strength – and most assuredly miserably, right? Wrong!
The Spirit of God gave me the verse above from the book of James in the Bible and told me, “hang onto this.”
A little while later, He reminded me of All Joy Road and gave me this message. All Joy Road. ALL Joy Road. Not SOME Joy Road. Not Once in a While Joy Road. Not Joy Contingent on Our Circumstances Road. Not Joy When Life Is Good and Easy and Comfortable Road. ALL JOY Road. EVEN WHEN GOD IS TESTING OUR FAITH to produce patience and to teach us to walk in His ways, to perfect His love in us, to conform us to Himself, to grow us in His image, to draw us ever closer to Himself. ALL JOY. ALL!
How can we possibly live our lives walking down ALL JOY Road? I wonder how many of us really do. Is it an off the beaten path little road few of us travel, do you think, or do you suppose those of us who follow Christ walk down it regularly, continually, steadfastly, and, when we find ourselves veering off it, do we come back to it – in obedience to the Lord?
How? By God’s grace. In God’s strength. Through God’s love. By God’s Spirit. According to God’s Word. With God Himself. In Christ. That’s where unconditional ALL JOY is found. When we realize that our circumstances will NEVER give us 100% JOY 100% of the time, and when we realize the only way we can “count it all joy” when our faith is tested and life may seem too hard to bear, or at the very least not such that we feel joyful, is to remember that our joy needs to be found IN CHRIST. In His fellowship. By learning to rest in Him, to trust in Him, to rejoice in Him, to focus on Him, to spend time with Him, to be diligent in learning to be in His presence, to seek God, to listen to God, to obey God, to draw closer, ever closer to God, to be true to God, to stand on God’s Truth, His Word, to read His Word, to study His Word, to live His Word, to repent when we need to repent, to seek His mercy when we need it, to serve God, no matter our circumstances, no matter the testing of our faith, no matter what happens in this world, and in our lives, no matter what people do to us, no matter what we face, to be in Christ, to be in relationship with Him, to REJOICE that we who believe in Him and follow Him as Lord are His forever, oh, yes therein lies the ALL JOY, in Christ, on All Joy Road. Walking with the Lord. Down ALL JOY Road. Finding the ultimate, unconditional, never-ending JOY in the Lord’s glorious forevermore presence!
I want to learn how to walk down All Joy Road every day, my hand in the hand of the Lord, my heart, my life, in His hands, my trust and hope in Him, my rejoicing in Christ, my joy in Christ, my joy in the Lord!
Come, my friend, believe in Jesus as Lord. Learn to walk with the Lord. In Him. With joy abounding. ALL JOY. Down ALL JOY Road. Rejoicing in the Lord. Finding ever joy in the Lord Jesus Christ!