5 Reasons We Can Find Joy When Life Is Difficult
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“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.” James 1:2-3
Joy is not usually the first word that comes to mind when I’m frustrated and overwhelmed. I’m still a work in progress. Self-pity is too often something I struggle with. But I want more joy in my life. I read the words of Jesus’ brother, James, to “count it all joy” even in trials, and I know that these hard words were inspired by God. They’re true and they’re helpful. The testing of my faith does produce steadfastness. I’ve experienced it and I’ve seen it experienced in other people’s lives. By the grace of God, I trust, that as I grow and mature in Christ, someday it will become ever more of a part of who I am. @@I want to be the kind of person who counts it all joy, even the trials.@@ I pray the same for you.
Here are five reasons why we can find joy even when life is difficult:
(Scriptures quoted are ESV)
1. Being joyful is not a denial or naiveté of the difficult situation, but an unshakeable confidence that comes from trusting God.
Trusting God means that we can look beyond the circumstances and know that he is good and his ways are perfect.
“This God—his way is perfect; the word of the LORD proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.” Psalm 18:30
2. This gift of faith comes from God.
Joy in difficult circumstances is not something that we can make ourselves feel. It comes from faith. We don’t have to fake it or force feelings that aren’t there. Instead, we can ask in prayer for the gift of faith that comes through the Holy Spirit’s work in our hearts.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,” Ephesians 2:8
3. Our hope is not in the things of this world.
The eternal glory of what’s to come far outweighs the temporary difficulties and the fleeting happiness this world offers.
“as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:18
4. It’s all about Jesus.
Often, our trials are not about us. We can’t see the whole picture. We don’t always see how God is working to use our trials for his glory.
“To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12
5. The testing of our faith produces steadfastness.
This phrase comes from James 1:4. Some versions of the Bible use the word, patience instead of steadfastness In the Message version, the words, mature and well developed, are used. If we want to grow in our faith, then this is, very often, how it happens.
“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.” 1 Peter 4:12-13
The word, joy, has been something I’ve been focusing on this year. The more I learn about joy, the more I realize how closely it’s tied to trusting Jesus. Joy isn’t something that can be taken away because it’s not dependent on our circumstances. My favorite definition of joy comes from Kay Warren, who wrote a wonderful book called, Choose Joy. She says,
If you are interested in reading more about the topic of joy, you may enjoy these other posts I've written.