A Cup of Joy
This is a cup of Joy.
Joy tea, that is. It's a seasonal Tazo tea blend. On my morning trip to Target today, I decided to stop by Starbucks for a hot tea. Earl Gray is my usual choice, but the barista said she had eight teas to choose from today so I wanted to explore my options.
Not feeling especially joyful lately, my ears perked up when she said she had one called, "Joy."
In a symbolic gesture to embrace joy in my life I said, "I'll try the Joy." I thought, hey, maybe this is God's way of getting my attention, waving at me, so to speak, so I'll just go with it.
I got my tea, added a little honey and cream and set about shopping. After a couple of minutes I finally tasted it. And, for something with a name like Joy, it was not very...good. I did not like my Joy tea. (How many times can I say "joy" in this post??) It did not, in reality, make me feel good or happy.
So, I thought, nope, God was definitely not trying to get my attention with this because it's yucky.
But then this came to mind:
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. James 1:2-4
Consider it joy. Not feel (or taste) it joy. Consider. That word indicates a choice. It actually carries the idea of being in authority - leading. Take charge, choose, lead yourself into joy whenever you face many kinds of temptations and trials.
When circumstances tempt you and me to sin, or when trouble comes, we are to count it as joy because we know that the testing of our faith will strengthen us, making us complete and mature, lacking nothing. The joy is in what is set before us off in the distance, not in what's set in front of us right this minute.
Joy is a choice. It's a realization that I'm going somewhere. That life is an investment in eternity. That God will test my faith and allow me to grow and mature and become more like Him. It's dependent upon eyes that are fixed on the finish line, looking, though dimly and figuratively, into the eyes of Jesus.
Sometimes joy comes amid situations that are yucky - like my tea, only way worse. I have felt joy at the strangest times, in the saddest times, so I believe what James said is true.
Therefore...despite the fact that my tea was not yummy, I raised my cup and, by faith, said (to myself, of course - though I am known for talking to myself, but that's another post) essentially, "I hear you, God. I choose joy."