Joy, even after watching his house burn down

I recently had the privilege of interviewing Dan Scott, the national Moderator of The Presbyterian Church in Canada. [Link below.]

When he was a boy, he watched his house burn to the ground in an act of arson. The next morning his father read James 1:2-3 to him and his siblings: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.”

He then led them in a prayer of thanksgiving and sent them off to school.


One of the things we discussed was the difference between joy and happiness. “Lots of us rely on happiness,” he said, “but joy is more bedrock stuff.” He pointed out that the word happiness is connected to the word “happens.” Happiness happens; it fluctuates with our experiences. But joy is a deeper awareness of God’s love, provision and help—even through fiery trials.

Are you going through a trial? Is your faith being tested? Even though it doesn’t make you happy, what if the end result was a wise and more fortified you? What if you are gaining the gritty muscle of perseverance that you will most certainly need for the rest of life’s road?

There are times when a change in perspective is the difference between giving up and marching on.

Maybe this is one of those times.


New Podcast: “Trials, joy & perseverance –  a talk with Dan Scott.” Click here to listen, or look for ‘The Pulse Podcast with Matthew Ruttan’ wherever you subscribe to podcasts: iTunes (Apple), Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher or TuneIn.

–The Up Devotional is published 5 days a week (Monday-Friday) and returns on January 31.

–Bible quotes are from the NIV. 

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