Words of Hope: Pure Joy

The book of James says, “Consider it all joy my brethren when you encounter trials of various kinds.” Some translations say to consider trials, “pure” joy. I see life in pictures therefore when I imagine pure joy—I tend to imagine a life absent of trials and difficulty. I think of Christmas or a Hawaiian Vacation. I don’t picture difficulty as pure joy. When I was younger, I memorized this verse in James and loved to meditate on it, but I rarely put it into practice. I never worked to see the difficulty I was facing as “pure joy.” When Dad got cancer, he started thinking about how to view life with cancer as pure joy. The orchestra director in Boston, Benjamin Zander recommended when facing a challenge to say enthusiastically while raising both your arms in celebration above your head, “How fascinating!” This is the image of Dad living life on full tilt with cancer, with hardship, with trials, and with pure joy.

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 1:2-5