How to Find the Joy You Want When Life is Hard

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Everyone wants to live with joy, but it can feel impossible when life is hard. How are you and I supposed to find the joy we want. Let's take a closer look... #WWGGG #BlessingCounters #HisGraceGirls #CountingMyBlessings #ChooseJoy

Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. 

James 1:2

This is how Jesus’ half brother, James, began his letter to Christian Jews who had scattered to other parts of the Mediterranean world because of persecution.

Can you imagine?

Other translations say…

  • Consider it nothing but joy.
  • Count it all joy.
  • Be glad.
  • Be very happy.
  • Consider it a gift.

I don’t know about you, but the last thing I typically think when trouble comes is … I’m so glad for this wonderful opportunity to have great joy!

I’m more likely to ask, “WHY?”

Not so much, “Why is this happening to me?”

But just, “WHY?”

Why is there so much suffering?

Why are there crimes? Storms? Tragedies? Terrorism? Wars? Storms? Illnesses?

Why is there persecution?

Our heads ache and our hearts hurt. And it’s hard to live with joy when our thoughts and emotions are dealing with every emotion but that one.

So what are you and I supposed to do? Do we just put on a fake happy face and pretend everything is okay.

I don’t think so!

Then is it really possible to experience joy when “trouble” surrounds us?

I think the first thing I had to learn about this verse was that it’s okay to not feel joy about the situation.

Jesus showed real emotions. He cried at Lazarus’ tomb. (John 11:5) Was angry at the sin He saw on display in the Temple Courtyard. (John 2:15) And cried out in fear in the Garden of Gethsemane. (Mark 14:35–36)

So, I don’t believe you and I are called to find joy in our troubles.

I don’t believe our joy has anything to do with our troubles at all.

James continued this way…

For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.

James 1:3–4

I don’t really like faith-testing and growth but I do want my faith to be strong and fully developed. And I do want to be at that place of knowing I have everything I need … even in the face of trouble.

So, the question is … how? How do we face our troubles with joy and grow in faith?

I’ve shared with you in several posts about my life-long struggle with fear and anxiety.

I can remember lying in bed awake in the middle of the night … frightened by every shadow, sound, and imagination.

I was afraid of…

  • bad dreams.
  • the dark.
  • storms.
  • or something hurting me or my family.

My thoughts would run wild as I gazed at the ceiling in dark.

But when it got to be too much, I’d call out to my parents and my fear faded in the presence of my mom or dad who could immediately remind me that I was loved, safe, and protected.

And I think that’s the the answer to our question.

How to Find the Joy You Want When Life is Hard

The Bible tells us to find joy even when we are facing problems. How is that even possible? Let's takes a look at what the Bible says about having joy. #Joy #WWGGG #MondayMorning #CountinMyBlessings #FindingMyJoy

We can experience joy, not in our troubles, or even in spite of our troubles. Our joy is in the fact that no matter what the “trouble” is … we don’t have to face it alone.

We find joy in knowing that our Father is with us!

He has promised…

Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.

Isaiah 41:10

“Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”

Deuteronomy 31:6

“Be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

Matthew 28:20

You and I can have joy even when we’re facing troubles because we are never alone. The God of the universe is with us.

I’ve absolutely hated some of the things our family has gone through, but God has been true to His promises. He faithfully walked with us and gave us everything we needed to get through each loss and illness with strength and courage that could have only come from Him.

He helped us find joy when our circumstances were anything BUT joyful!

I no longer live with fear and that is a miracle. God has proven His promise to always be with me.

And let me tell you…

Living without fear because of God’s faithful presence . . . gives me joy!

The truth is, it’s okay if we’re not particularly joy-filled when we look at our troubles.

And it’s okay if we’re not particularly joy-filled when life is hard … pain, grief, sorrow, and disappointment are all part of living in a sinful world.

But it’s in those moments when God invites us to call out to Him in faith. And each time we do … our faith grows and we begin to find joy.

The Life Application Bible Notes say…

We can face pain with a positive outlook because of what troubles can produce in our life.

We can face pain with a positive outlook because of what troubles can produce in our life.

God promises to be with us when life is hard. He promises to give us the strength we need to endure and the patience we need to wait with hope. He will show Himself true to His promises and help our faith grow.

And that’s how we can consider having troubles an opportunity for joy!

Here are just a few more verses that give me joy…

God loves us even when life is hard. 

No matter what is going on in my life. No matter how I feel … God’s love never ends.

The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is His faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each morning.

Lamentations 3:22–23

God’s love gives us power.

I am humbled and grateful by the way God gave us everything we needed when we went through the worst of troubles. He gave the power to endure when we had none of our own and the courage to keep going when it would have been easier to just give up.

Then Christ will make His home in your hearts as you trust in Him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

Ephesians 3:17–19

God’s love gives us strength when we are weak.

God promises to give us the strength we need to fight temptation and the grace we need to endure hardship.

The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, He will show you a way out so that you can endure.

1 Corinthians 10:13

That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, [with God] then I am strong

2 Corinthians 12:10
Everyone wants to live with joy, but it can feel impossible when life is hard. How are you and I supposed to find the joy we want. Let's take a closer look... #WWGGG #BlessingCounters #HisGraceGirls #CountingMyBlessings #ChooseJoy

God’s love is personal, faithful, and unfailing.

Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean He no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death?

I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:35,38–39

And that my friend, is how and why you and I can have joy even when trouble comes our way.

Not joy in or in spite of the trouble. But joy because God, our perfect parent, loves us and gives us everything we need to live in this sinful troubled world with strength, courage, hope, and love.

May you be blessed as you find your joy in His presence and love.

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  1. Yes! This post brought an old hymn to my mind. Trust and Obey for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

    Blessings to you and yours!


    1. I love that hymn, Marie! It’s one that just sticks in your heart and mind. Thanks so much for visiting. God bless you!

  2. Oh, yes, Deb! Even in times of difficulty, pain and trouble, we can find joy in knowing that Jesus is with us through it all. I may not always be happy, but joy sticks around like a best friend.

    1. Amen, Martha! I believe that when I stay focused on Jesus and all I have in Him … the problems become smaller and the joy grows. It is a beautiful gift we have from His Spirit! God bless you, my friend!

  3. Excel Andy says:

    I love the bible verses.
    Yes,we must be joyful always.

    1. Thanks for visiting, Excel, and for leaving your kind encouragement. God bless you!

      1. Deb,

        You are truly a blessing and I love your blog. Thank you Jesus for Deb and your message that she delivers.

        1. Rachelle, thank you so very much for your kind encouragement! And for your prayer! May God bless you and surround you with His love!

  4. Stacey Pardoe says:

    What wonderful words of truth, Deb! I’m so thankful for the way you make Scripture relevant to whatever is happening around us, and this post is balm for my soul today! I can always count on CMB to nourish the hungry parts of my soul! You bless me so much!

    1. Thank you, Stacey! You made my day! That is my heart … to help myself and my readers realize that God’s love surrounds us always. That our faith isn’t just for an eternity in heaven but that it can bless every day as we live in His presence and love. Thanks for blessing me! I pray you enjoy a wonderful week!

  5. Beth Steffaniak says:

    I’ve done a study on the names of God, Deb, and one thing that struck me was how many of those names remind us of how present, faithful and loving our God is! Thank you for adding to that truth and encouraging us to take refuge in our Lord during this time of uncertainty and loss! Pinning and tweeting!

    1. I agree, Beth! I love studying the names God has given Himself that help us know how much He loves us and cares about us. Thanks for blessing me with your encouragement. I sure do appreciate you! Blessings!

  6. What a blessing your words are to comfort us through these uncertain days! I pray I will grow closer to Him and stronger in faith each day! Thank you for this lesson!

    1. I’m so glad this blessed you, Debbie! It is a confusing time and I know many are starting to get frustrated and impatient. I needed a word of encouragement and thought others might as well. Thanks for taking a minute to leave your kind encouragement. God bless you!


    I have often said, it is near impossible to find joy in our troubles so we should seek joy IN SPITE of our troubles.

    1. I’ve said it that way in the past, too. And it can certainly feel that way, can’t it? I’m trying to look at it lately as having joy “with” my troubles. They are a part of life and rather than pushing back and saying, “I must be joyful in this.” I’m working at keeping a perspective that ways, “Even with these troubles, I will lean into Jesus, the One who gives me joy.” My heart’s desire is to SEEK His presence and trust His unfailing love. Thanks so much for visiting and for joining the conversation. God bless you, Michelle!

  8. Katherine says:

    Thank you for the joyful lesson.

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Katherine! I hope you are enjoying a very blessed week!