An Opportunity for Great Joy

It’s a process of faith.

Finding Joy in Trials and Struggles

Daniel has lost more friends and family members than he can count. Living as a refugee in a foreign land, he’s lost loved ones to civil unrest, lack of food and disease. But if you meet him, you’ll likely find him smiling. It’s not a forced smile but one that reflects a joyful heart even in trials. Putting the words “joy” and “trial” into the same sentence might seem unbelievable—even ridiculous. How could Daniel be happy about difficulties? About struggles and hard things?

The first step is to acknowledge once more that happiness and joy are different. Circumstances can make you feel sad, angry, or disappointed, but that doesn’t mean joy isn’t possible. Daniel has joy because he’s found hope: God is with him, God is for him and one day he will dwell with his Lord in mansions of glory. James 1:2-4 says that trials are an opportunity for great joy. That opportunity is a willingness to be transformed by the situation—to change, to learn, to grow. It’s like training for a marathon: Each time you run, you’re pushed a little farther through hurt and hardship. And each time you go a little farther, you become stronger and can endure a bit more as you grow closer to God.

It’s a process of faith.
There’s rarely an immediate joy in the struggle when someone you love is diagnosed with cancer, when you’ve lost your job or when you just can’t seem to conquer that class in school. The circumstances are unhappy, but Scripture reminds us that the struggle is your chance for joy to bloom—like a flower growing out of a crack in the sidewalk. God doesn’t expect you to see your tears as blessings right away. He doesn’t ask that you break into a smile the moment a loved one is lost, or jump up and down when your world seemingly falls apart. All He asks is that you say “yes” to the process. Each time you do, you’ll grow and become stronger. And in time, your joy will bloom even in the midst of great trials.

Things to Ponder: Do you feel like you are in a trial, coming out of a trial, or about to enter a trial?
Why is it hard to find joy in trials and struggles?
What would finding endurance through trials look like in your life?


Opportunity for change.

This is the 8th week of special Tuesday One Things during the effects of COVID-19. In week one I challenged you as a couple to intentionally grow your marriage during this season. Over the weeks we have talked about a number of things for you to do to help make this happen.

The slower pace had been very good for Nancy and me. I think that sometimes we do not realize how fast-paced our lives really are because it is our “normal.” We have been talking about how much we have enjoyed the slower pace and more time to spend together. Our goal is to not get back in some of the patterns that we were in. We know that will take focus and effort but the results will be more than worth it. What about the two of you? What have you been learning? What do you want to keep as a part of your life post COVID-19? Today, spend some time talking about that together.

Today’s One Thing: Today “say” I love you to your spouse without using any words!

DON’T JUST SURVIVE! – Your Marriage Was Meant To Thrive!

If you like these series of tips and want to receive your One Thing Email please sign up at  (It’s free!)

Our Daily Bread

The One Who Sees

You may be sure that your sin will find you out. Numbers 32:23

“Oh no!” My wife’s voice rang out when she stepped into the kitchen. The moment she did, our ninety-pound Labrador retriever “Max” bolted from the room.

Gone was the leg of lamb that had been sitting too close to the edge of the counter. Max had consumed it, leaving only an empty pan. He tried to hide under a bed. But only his head and shoulders fit. His uncovered rump and tail betrayed his whereabouts when I went to track him down.“Oh, Max,” I murmured, “Your ‘sin’ will find you out.” The phrase was borrowed from Moses, when he admonished two tribes of Israel to be obedient to God and keep their promises. He told them: “But if you fail to do this, you will be sinning against the Lord; and you may be sure that your sin will find you out” (Numbers 32:23).

Sin may feel good for a moment, but it causes the ultimate pain of separation from God. Moses was reminding his people that God misses nothing. As one biblical writer put it, “Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account” (Hebrews 4:13).Though seeing all, our holy God lovingly draws us to confess our sin, repent of it (turn from it), and walk rightly with Him (1 John 1:9). May we follow Him in love today. By James Banks

REFLECT & PRAY: Thank You for being “the God who sees me” (Genesis 16:13). I praise You that though You see both good and bad, You sent Your Son to save and set me free. Help me to walk in loving obedience.

Credit: Our Daily Bread