Dear brothers and sisters, whenever trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy. For when you faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything. God blesses the people who patiently endure testing. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. James 1:2-4, 12
Last week my devotional was all about Joy and how going through hard times and struggles can make your Joy that much greater! I couldn't help but think of one of the moments that sticks out in my mind after we lost Maggie Grace and I was still recovering. Jc made me laugh really hard and I grabbed my stomach and told him to stop making me laugh because my belly was shaking. I think it sticks out in my mind because we were still able to make each other happy and laugh with Joy even in the middle of being absolutely devastated. I feel like this tiny moment says a lot about our marriage and our faith in God, always putting him first and trusting him. So here are some thoughts from last week's devotional...
"To experience sorrow does not eliminate joy. In fact, I've come to think that sorrow actually deepens our capacity for joy- that as our lows are lower, so are our highs higher. Deep sorrow expands our ability to feel deeply. We feel sadder than we ever knew we could, sadder then we think we can survive. But our sorrow prepares us to experience a more satisfying and solid joy than we've ever known before. When joy surfaces, it allows us to see that deep beneath the chaos and catastrophe is the strong current of confidence that we can be content in the sovereign hands of God. It's just not natural to experience profound joy in the face of heartache. It is supernatural; it's spiritual. This is the kind of joy God has for you.It is not produced by the human spirit in response to pleasant circumstances, but by the holy spirit in spite of difficult circumstances. It is the very joy of Christ fulfilled in us."
~ Nancy Guthrie
Our hearts ache, but we always have joy. We are poor, but we give spiritual riches to others. We own nothing, and yet we have everything.
2 Corinthians 6:10
Weeping may go on all night, but joy comes with the morning. Psalm 30:5
"Sometimes we are afraid to laugh lest people think our pain has passed or that our sorrow has been a sham. But just as tears give vent to the deep sorrow we feel inside, laughter is evidence of the deep joy that abides, even in the midst of sorrow. Laughter reveals that while grief may have a grip on us, it has not choked the life out of us. Laughter takes some of the sting out of hurt. Won't you give yourself permission to laugh a little and enjoy some relief from the pain?" ~ Nancy Guthrie
I hope that if you are struggling to find some joy in the middle of a hard time that these words are encouragement to you! Blessings to you!