I can remember sitting in our Sunday Morning Bible Class and hearing a friend say…
“When life gets hard and troubles start piling up, I start to get excited because I know the Lord is about to show Himself. He is going to be there for me in an extraordinary way.”
Please don’t tell me I’m alone in this, but I confess that when I’m confronted with challenges and problems I don’t get excited. My typical reaction is anxiety with the clear understanding that worry and fear are lurking nearby as well.
And yet, James, the half-brother of Jesus, wrote the following at the beginning of his letter to Jewish believers:
Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.James 1:2
He took it even further than our friend. In fact, he went on to add:
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
Trouble is going to come our way! The enemy is consistent in sending things to undermine our faith. But what he intends for evil God is able to turn into good. When you and I SEEK the Lord . . . when we humbly turn to Him, our faith grows. He gives us the strength we need each day and when we remember the ways He has helped us in the past, we are more equipped to face the challenges ahead.
James also mentioned some things we should pray for when life’s challenges feel overwhelming.
- Wisdom (James 1:5)
- Faith in God alone. (James 1:6)
- Undivided loyalty to God alone. (James 1:6–8)
- Patience and strength to endure through trials and temptations. (James 1:12)
- To be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. (James 1:19)
- Strength to purge our lives of filth and evil. (James 1:21)
- Help to obey God’s will. (James 1:22)
- Help to control our tongues. (James 1:26)
- And a willingness to care for those in need. (James 1:27)
Something I noticed as I wrote that list is that if I keep my heart and mind focused on those things . . . I’ll have far less time to worry about life’s troubles. I’ll have so much to do in prayer and obedience today, that I won’t need to worry about tomorrow.
A Prayer to Be Able Live with Joy When Trouble Comes
Father, life is hard sometimes but You know that. Jesus said, “In this world, you will have trouble.” Not “you may have trouble” or “if you have trouble.” He said that we will have trouble. I can be guilty of comparing my life to the lives of the people around me or the posts I see on social media. Please forgive me. The truth is . . . no one gets through this life without problems.
I can also be prone to anxiety, worry, and fear when trouble comes. I ask for you to forgive me for that as well. I want to keep my focus on You. I want to remember that Jesus has “overcome the world.”
I pray that You will give me wisdom especially when I’m facing life’s challenges. I pray that you will give me an undivided heart of faith in and loyalty to You alone. I ask that you will give me the patience and strength needed to endure difficult circumstances.
Lord, I need Your help to be quick to listen, to carefully choose my words with caution, and to control feelings of anger. I need the power and help of Your Spirit to know, trust, and obey Your will, to withstand temptation, and to purge my life of evil. Please give me a heart for others and the willingness to care for those in need.
Please help me focus on what You are doing in me and around me that I might be able to live with joy even when trouble comes. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
I know I can’t do this on my own. On my own, I will never get excited when troubles start piling up or anticipate the extraordinary thing God is about to do in my life.
With God all things are possible. And with God, what the enemy intends to use to harm us can become a beautiful blessing.
On today’s note write:
When trouble comes I trust God to give me joy.
May you be blessed with everything you need to live with joy today. And if you are in the midst of a hard time, please tell us how we can pray for you.
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