Saturday, June 21, 2014

The Joy Comes in the Morning

One of my favorite children's books is called Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst. The book goes through the day of a boy named Alexander who has a series of things happen that are "no good" in the eyes of a child. His brother gets the prize from the cereal box, his school lunch didn't have a dessert like his friend's lunches, and he gets into trouble for fighting with his siblings. So he keeps wishing he could move to Australia as if the problems of his life would be better there. The best line of the book comes at the end when it says, "Some days are like that.  Even in Australia."

How many of us have days like Alexander's day where we wish we could move somewhere or get a repeat?

Perhaps you woke up this morning with the coffee maker not working. You go to take a shower only to realize you forgot to buy shampoo and now you can't wash your hair. You end up with greasy hair for the day. You get dressed only to have your children banging on the bathroom door. You open it to find out your son dumped all the cereal out of the cereal box all over the floor. As you clean it, the dog won't stop barking to go outside. You finally get rounded up and out the door for the day. When you get to the park playdate, you turn around to realize one of your little ones forgot to put shoes on. You re-strap everyone into their car seats to return home to get the shoes and get a flat tire on your way home. And on and on it goes with all of the craziness.

As the day goes, you wish you could just escape to Hawaii with your husband to enjoy a vacation. Then it gets especially hard when you realize you won't be taking a vacation that year because of money or lack of vacation days from work. Sigh! You begin questioning why things are so tough that day. Why, God, why???

But folks, some days are like that, even in Hawaii (or Australia).

James 1:2-4 Consider it pure  joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

I love this series of verses. The author, James, doesn't say to consider it rottenness or misery to face trials. No. He says to consider it pure joy to face whatever trials you are going through. You could replace joy with some of it's synonyms. Consider it pure anticipation. Consider it pure bliss. Consider it pure delight.

Sure, James! You haven't been in my shoes. You aren't the one going through the loss of someone close to me. You aren't going through a terrible divorce. You aren't being laid off from a job.

In  the footnotes of my Bible, it says "the same Greek root lies behind the word 'trials' here and the word 'tempted" in vs. 13."

James 1:13-14 When tempted, no one should say "God is tempting me." For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is  tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed.

When we face trials and temptations throughout the day, how are we battling them? Are we spending enough time in prayer? How's your prayer life going? Are you looking the enemy straight in the eye and telling him, "No! I will not be tempted?"

Sometimes, our family will get to the end of the day and I will have nightly bedtime talks with my children. We talk about how that day may have been rough and perhaps, we did things we shouldn't have. We talk about how we may have said things we shouldn't have either. We devote time to prayer asking for forgiveness. Then, I remind them that tomorrow is a new day.

Lamentations 3:22-23 Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

I am so thankful God's love is never-ending nor is it unchangeable. I am so thankful that his compassions are new every morning. I love that we do get re-dos and a chance to start fresh. Allow yourself some grace and rejoice in the fact that we are forgiven. And when you wake up in the morning, stretch your arms out to God and say, "A new day is here. Thank you, Lord. The joy comes in the morning. I will start anew."

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