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
“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.
How are you and I supposed to find joy in those circumstances?
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.
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.
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by Dawn Klinge
by Maree Dee
@ Embracing the Unexpected
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