nothing is wasted

My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;  Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.  But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.  James 1:2-4

Count it all joy.

We see it on tshirts, and bags, and websites.  We say it to each other.  We study it in ladies Bible study.  But what does it really mean?

There are two things in my life I am really struggling with.  And when I say struggling, I’m talking about long, honest conversations with God.  The kind where I tell Him I’m not happy about this.  Where there are tears and feelings of despair.  There is frustration and anger and some days there feels like there is no light at the end of the tunnel.

The other problem with these two situations is that they are going to be around for a very long time.  There are no easy answers and no quick fixes.

In other words, it looks very hard to count it all joy right now.

I was going to say right here that I was never the world’s most joyful person anyway.  But I think more accurately, I’m not a bubbly person.  A happy go lucky person.  A glass half full person.

But that doesn’t mean I can’t count it all joy.  Joyful doesn’t always look like the absence of tears or hard conversations.  It doesn’t always look like life is hopeful and full of light.  I think it’s more of a trust.  It’s a knowing in my soul that comes from wrestling with God.  That comes from being pressed against Him during trials over and over.

This week I sat across from a dear girl, read these verses to her, and told her nothing is wasted.

God takes every trial, every temptation, every fear, every situation, every feeling of hopelessness or despair or overwhelm.  And He uses it.  Each one is a building block in our faith.

That’s where the joy comes from.

Not from a smile on my face.  Or the ability to laugh through trials.  It’s not an ability to ignore depression or pretend that everything is okay.

For me, the joy is the knowing.  The deep down faith filled trust in God that He is using each one of those things in my life.  That nothing is ever wasted.

I’m slowly learning to appreciate those trials.  To count them joy.  For what are great relationships without long conversations with tears?  How else would I learn to bare my soul with God?  How would I learn to stand on the Rock unless I felt that my world was crumbling?  How else would I draw so close to His side unless the trials of life were pressing me so hard?

Nothing is wasted with God.