Lately there seem to be a lot of, shall we say, “challenges” being laid at my feet.  I think that’s the word you’re supposed to use when you want to be a glass-half-full kind of person.  I don’t know about you, but some days I have a hard time looking at those challenges as something that I will not only face and conquer, but that I will also cherish.

Because that’s what we’re supposed to do, right?  “Consider it pure joy?”  In the midst of the chaos that life seems to bring, I sometimes have a hard time finding joy in the difficult circumstances I face. Some days my heart is so heavy that it feels like the only thing pulling me through is inertia.

The thought occurred to me, though, that perhaps I’m not expected to FEEL joy (or at least joy as we understand it) in those exact moments of struggle. Maybe I’m just supposed to know joy because God is working in me, to make me better.  I know there must have been many moments where Job wasn’t ecstatic with his suffering.  But what I do know is that after having made it through, he was doubly blessed, and was surely able to see how his pain and suffering was redeemed – his faith rewarded.
Pieter Bruegel the Elder- Storm at Sea
Pieter Bruegel the Elder- Storm at Sea
It’s not easy to have faith while we’re in the midst of a battle.  I fail at that daily.  But I do also look back on times of struggle with a bittersweet thankfulness.  I can see how those times in my life made me who I am.  I can feel how they deepened my faith and most importantly, solidified my knowledge of God’s love for me.  I’ve been able to help others because of the challenges I’ve faced and overcome.

And while I might not always be jumping for joy about experiencing pain or fear or loss, I do know that each time God brings me through those times, I come out on the other end a better, stronger person.  More whole.  That’s no consolation prize.


Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

James 1:2-4

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