I really don't like it when people share that old saying, "What doesn't kill you will make you stronger". I find it even more intolerable when they say it with a big old smile on their face. That saying may be true but it doesn't help the hurt feelings, bruised ego, and frustrations of the troubles we may be enduring at the time.
Sometimes we try to comfort people by quoting Romans 8:28 to people. I know that God can take the worst problems we are going through and make something good out of it. But it is not much comfort.
So what do you do with a verse like James 1:2-3? "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."
How can we be joyful in the face of adversity? Here are some helpful thoughts:
1. Realize that joy doesn't come from outside circumstances like happiness. Joy comes bubbling up from down in our hearts.
2. Joy comes from trusting in God and realizing that when circumstances are outside of our control that God is still very much in control.
3. Joy is a conscious choice that we make. It is a result of letting the Holy Spirit lead our lives.
4. When you need a little joy you can always ask God for it.
5. There is always something to praise God for.
Recently, when we were going through a rough patch and I was feeling sorry for myself, a friend of mine posted on Facebook that he was thankful that he had cancer. After reading his post I was humbled and reminded that my troubles were really small compared to what some are having to endure. If my friend can be joyful with a life-threatening disease than I should find my joy too.
May the joy of the Lord guard your heart and mind in the Lord Jesus Christ!
Prayer Thought: Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for being with me in the good times and the bad times. I want to praise you in all circumstances and worship you with joy. Help me to sing and be joyful. I ask this in the name of Jesus Christ, my Lord, Amen.