As I stood before the congregated group of people on that cold November day, I was standing in a pool of sorrow on the inside.
My father’s mother was more like a mother to me than a grandmother. She was my babysitter during my early years, and I followed everywhere she went. A number of years before her death, she had informed me that she wanted me and my father to speak at her funeral. I had spoken to her a few days before she died and told her it was okay for her to leave. I wasn’t living nearby at the time and couldn’t get away even though I desperately wanted to. And while she left me with great memories, her leaving also left me with enormous sorrow.
James makes an ironic statement. Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles 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. (James 1:2-3 NLT)
Joy can only come in sorrowful times when I have the right perspective. If I look at events through unbiblical lenses, sorrow may overpower me and lead to bitterness or unhealthy emotional states.
I can also discover a deep seated joy in the midst of trials when I remember God loves me and is perpetually working for my benefit. I may not presently see it, but I can be confident he is.
Likewise, joy can be birthed in the midst of trouble when I believe God is somehow using the trial to accomplish his purpose for my life. Difficulty may not be the path I’d rather travel, but God can see the beginning from the end—something I’m not privy to.
So don’t grow despondent when trials come. Believe God has something good in store.
Prayer: Father of goodness and grace, guide us through life’s dark moments with the assurance that You have our good in mind.
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