When difficulties come to us in life and in our relationships, we have a choice. We can either go down the path of despair, or the path of hope. The first path takes us from disappointment to discouragement, then to despair. We feel powerless and hopeless, and we don’t know how things will ever get better. If we’re honest, we can often find ourselves heading down that path, especially if we’ve been struggling for a long time. But in Romans 5, we find an alternative path. It says, ‘suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope’ (vv.3-4 NIV). In order to choose this path, we need to trust that God will stay with us in the hard times, and that He’ll bring something good from them. The Bible says, ‘in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose’ (Romans 8:28 NIV). Often when we can’t understand life’s circumstances, we limit our expectations of who God is and what He can do. But we must try to see Him at work in any trials that come our way. And more than that, we need to rejoice in our times of trouble. This may seem too difficult, or even an impossibility, but James writes, ‘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. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing’ (vv.2-4 NLT). When we remember the amazing things God can do in and through us while we’re facing trials, it’s easier to have joy, trust in Him, and choose the path which leads to hope.
Listen to ‘Joy of the Lord’ by Rend Collective. Then spend some time asking God to help you rejoice, no matter what your circumstances are right now.
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