The idea presented in this passage is a hard concept to understand because it isn't natural for us to find joy in our trials or tragedies. Normally when things go awry, we are disappointed and our first reaction is to blame or turn away from God. We usually turn to anger or bitterness first. I think the first thing to address is that God does not cause our hurt. We live in a fallen world, and so we are going to face trials. Every single one of us is going to face trials.
I don't believe God is saying that we have to be super happy and excited when hard things happen in our life. Jesus grieves with us as we go through hardships. He is saying we can have joy. Joy isn't always laughter or a feeling of happiness. It is a foundational hope in something (or Someone) that is stable and constant. This underlying joy doesn't depend on our situations. This joy allows us to press into God and choose Him in hard times.
There have been so many times in my life when I've looked back after going through a hard season of life and been thankful. As a result of those times I learned more about depending on God. I learned that even when nothing is going my way, God is still really good. During my junior year of college, one of my friends died in a car accident. It was heartbreaking and led to a really hard year of questioning a lot of things. The more I sought God the more I learned about His heart. I ended up growing in my relationship with the Lord more than I ever had in my life. I gained a deep joy and sense of hope that I'm taken care of.
my prayer for you
My prayer for you is that when trials comes your way, don't run. Seek Him. Let Him in when it doesn't make sense. He's always trustworthy. He's always faithful. He's always good. You won't regret it. I didn't.
- Laura Lewis