What if Troubles are Really Opportunities for Joy

The Bible says our troubles are opportunities for joy. Really?! Troubles don't usually make me joyful. But maybe there's another way to look at it.

We’ve got trouble.

If you watch the news, we’ve got overwhelming trouble.

Maybe you’ve got personal trouble.

Life can be hard.

But then there’s this…

Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. 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 1:2-4

Seriously?!

“An opportunity for great joy.”

I don’t know about you, but my first reaction to trouble is not great joy. In fact, joy is not only not my first reaction . . . it probably won’t be my second or third reaction either.

My first reaction is usually the question, “Why?” Not, “Why me?” Just “Why?”

Why is there so much suffering?

The news is frightening. Wars. Crimes. Storms. Tragedy. Terrorism.

Personal stories hurt our heads and our hearts. Illness. Rejection. Pain. Loss.

The Bible says our troubles are opportunities for joy. Really?! Troubles don't usually make me joyful. But maybe there's another way to look at it.

How are you and I supposed to find joy in those circumstances?

We’re not.

I don’t believe we find joy in our troubles.

If you ask a group of people…

Did you ever experience a time as a child when you were upset or afraid until you were with a parent or another adult?

You’ll hear stories of:

  • bad dreams.
  • fear of the dark.
  • fear of storms.
  • being sick or injured.
  • being rejected or abandoned.

But you’ll also hear how their fear faded in the presence of a parent or someone they trusted or was bigger and stronger. Someone who made them feel safe.

God is with us.

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 because we never face our troubles alone. The God of the universe is with us.

I’ve absolutely hated some of the things our family has gone through, but God never failed us . . . giving us everything we needed to get through with a strength and courage that could only come from Him.

I am no longer afraid and my friends, that is a miracle. I trust God will never abandon me.

No fear and God’s faithful presence . . . those are reasons for joy.

It’s okay if we’re not particularly joy-filled when we look at our troubles.

The Bible says our troubles are opportunities for joy. Really?! Troubles don't usually make me joyful. But maybe there's another way to look at it.

But when we look at God through our troubles we realize:

God loves us even when life is hard. 

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 power.

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 3:19

When you and I are weak, God gives us strength.

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

God is with us, and will never forsake us.

“Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Don’t be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.” 1 Chronicles 28:20

You and I can have joy when we have trouble because God loves us, He’s with us, and gives us His strength and power that say, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.”  Philippians 4:13

Yes, even face our troubles with joy.

 Now it’s time for…

Faith ‘n Friends Link Party

Counting My Blessings

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Feature Post

I’m excited to share the following posts with you this week.

31 Days of Scripture: The Character of God

by Dawn Klinge

Above the Waves31 Days of Scripture by Dawn Klinge

and

Why Would I Let Go of a Friendship

by Maree Dee

Embracing the Unexpected

Why Would I Let Go of a Friendship by Maree Dee

Thank you, Dawn and Maree, for partying with us!

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20 comments

  1. Michele Morin
    Twitter:
    says:

    It’s enlightening to me that joy and suffering are so often linked in Scripture – and that our identification with Christ is so closely linked to troubles. Thanks for this post that is encouraging and at the same time deeply theological. I think sometimes we Christians do more harm than good with our “turn that frown upside down” talk when someone we love is hurting deeply. But bringing truth like this to the conversation is so helpful. Blessings to you, Deb.
    Michele Morin recently posted..Long Live the Queen! Till We Have Faces Discussion Group Week 8My Profile

  2. Dawn says:

    Deb,
    Your words are always such a practical source of grace for me. I am reminded of the 2 verses I read as I opened up my Bible in 1 Peter 4. I have read His Word countless times, passed over it and took it in…but sometimes it just makes me pause. I asked Him about suffering and waiting and how to be faithful the other day and like your word here and those from 1 Peter 4 I am reminded that our hope is always always In Him and as we wait In His Word we are filled. Thank you for always providing His Word as a seed of grace.
    Blessings,
    Dawn
    Dawn recently posted..When the brushstroke of grace is in your story…#GraceMoments Link UpMy Profile

  3. Bethany says:

    “Our joy is not in the trouble but in the fact that we don’t have to face the trouble alone.” So true… I’ve never thought about getting in trouble from this point of view. You kind of opened my eyes! Thanks!

  4. Crystal
    Twitter:
    says:

    Love how this operates out of a place of hope and optimism! And that we don’t have to go through our troubles alone. I’m not sure if we will ever comprehend the magnitude of this truth, but I’m so grateful!

  5. Sherry Stahl
    Twitter:
    says:

    Deb,
    This is the second blog post I’ve read today that reminded me that we’re NEVER alone! Praise be to God!!!
    Praying you have a blessed day and that the reach of your writing is increased.
    Be Blessed and Refreshed today!
    ~Sherry Stahl
    xoxo
    Sherry Stahl recently posted..Make God ShineMy Profile

  6. Martha Orlando
    Twitter:
    says:

    Your words were exactly what I needed to hear today, Deb. We are going through some unexpected and upending family troubles at the moment. I would so appreciate your prayers for my son and for Danny and me as we muddle through this.
    I can only know joy in the midst of trouble because of God’s great love.
    Blessings!
    Martha Orlando recently posted..Have-To or Get-To?My Profile

  7. Cheryl Gerou says:

    Visiting from fresh-market-friday. Yes, troubles can seem so incredibly overwhelming. Weso easily lose sight of the Lord in the difficulty. Thank for sharing the hope and joy we find in the Lord. May your soul be refreshed in His faithfulness.

  8. dawn
    Twitter:
    says:

    I love the fact that we never have to face our troubles alone. Thank you for this encouragement today. And thank you for hosting Faith and Friends each week. What a sweet honor it is to be featured!

  9. Michelle Nab says:

    I’m going through some difficult times myself, and I can honestly say I do not feel joy in the midst of it all. However, God’s word says “joy” not “happiness.” So, is it that I’m unhappy or without joy? Maybe it’s more than putting on a happy face and say happy things no matter what we face. I don’t know. I appreciate how you say that the joy is not the feeling, but knowing that we are not alone in this situation. It’s knowing that God’s got our backs. Thanks for an eye-opening post!

  10. Maree Dee says:

    Deb, I loved this post. You quoted some of my favorite verses, the ones I cling to when the unexpected happens, and I find myself crying out “WHY.”

    Thank you also for highlighting my post from last week. That was exciting to be chosen.

    I am so glad I found your site. You are a beautifully gifted writer.

    Blessings,

    Maree
    Maree Dee recently posted..Is Unconditional Love Even Possible?My Profile

  11. Laura says:

    THANKS for your encouraging words!! For me, joy can be such a hard word to understand. I’ve always taken comfort from God during hard times, but receiving Joy takes that to a whole other level. All I know is God is beyond my understanding, and I’m so amazed at how generous he is with me.

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