“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.” (James 1:2)
A coach and friend of mine told a great story about the discovery of real joy. It was about a man who became lost in the mountains, broke his leg, and found himself facing death. In the midst of facing hopelessness, he turned to God and gave his life to Jesus in response to a moment of enlightened hope near a flickering campfire.
There was an instant transformation. His leg was still in bad shape, the pain wasn’t gone, but there was a dramatic change in his heart. As my friend, Paul, described it, “The pain in his leg now became more of a reason to live than a reason to die.”
That statement captured my heart. Can pain be a reason to live? If I belong to the Lord, I have life deep within that the pains of the world cannot destroy. There is hope and joy deeper than the situation. Sometimes, perseverance through the pains of this life might be the most effective means to share the hope and joy that we have in Christ Jesus. My most effective witness is sometimes in the way I face hardship and hopeless situations.
Sometimes, pain is a shortcut to deeper life. As C.S. Lewis said it, “Pain is God’s megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” As the Apostle Paul put it, “I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death…” (Philippians 3:10)
His power is made perfect in weakness. His grace is sufficient. His mercies are new every morning. His grace abounds. And joy comes in the morning.
“Those who plant in tears
will harvest with shouts of joy.” (Psalm 126:5)
-How is the reading on your joy meter these days?
-What pain are you giving over to God?
-What pain is threatening your joy?