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Today’s passage seems to make an impossible demand: how on earth can we “consider it all joy” when we face terrible hardships? Doesn’t this admonition belittle our honest troubles and concerns?
Scripture never instructs us to ignore situations that cause us heartaches, doubt, fear, or worry. In fact, the Bible is quite honest about what we as Christians can expect from a life devoted to Christ. Jesus proclaimed, “In this world you will have trouble” (John 16:33 niv). Because we seek to live by biblical values, the world does not understand our motivation and will therefore often stand against us.
How, then, can we rejoice when we face trouble? It is through our hardships that Christ often makes Himself known in our lives. If we lived trouble-free lives, what need would we have for a Savior? Rather, it is because we live fragile lives that we can see Jesus clearly.
When we face a problem head-on with the certainty that God will provide a solution and the strength to endure, we gain spiritual stamina. It is similar to training our physical bodies. Only through the resistance of an opposing force, such as a barbell, do our muscles grow. Likewise, our faith develops as a result of dealing with spiritual resistance.
Through the indwelling Holy Spirit, we can find the faith to rejoice in our pain. This is possible because we not only have the assurance that God will provide, but we also can trust that when we walk with Him, we will be better prepared to face the next obstacle.