Robert J. Morgan, in his book, The Red Sea Rules, writes, "We don't always know why God allows problems, but we know He intends to use them to heighten our maturity and deepen our faith. Trials and troubles are dumbbells and treadmills for the soul. They develop strength and stamina" (page 96).
The way we handle trouble follows us. Elisabeth Elliot mentioned this in her book, Secure in the Everlasting Arms. "Faithfulness today is the best preparation for the demands of tomorrow" (page 39). God's invitation to ask Him for wisdom in James 1:5 encourages me. We're not alone in our trials.
I've found gratefulness to be a joy-giver. Rather than dwell on the negatives (which seem to multiply at times), we can choose to look for the grace-moments in the midst of hard times. Jotting down what we are thanking God for cements those blessings in our minds - and helps us remember what may too easily be overlooked.
Finding a broader perspective also helps us navigate hard times. Grace Fabian's book, Outrageous Grace: A Story of Tragedy and Forgiveness, recently gave me perspective. Stories of heroes of faith down through the centuries give us courage in adversity. They help us see a bigger picture.
What trials are you facing today?
James wrote, "Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has passed the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him."
Now, here's something to be joyful about!