True Joy

So, now, since we have been made right in God's sight by faith in his promises, we can have real peace with him because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. For because of our faith, he has brought us into this place of highest privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to actually becoming all that God has had in mind for us to be.

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials for we know that they are good for us - they help us learn to be patient. And patience develops strength of character in us and helps us trust God more each time we use it until our hope and faith are strong and steady. Then, when that happens, we are able to hold our heads high no matter what happens and know that all is well, for we know how dearly God loves us, and we feel this warm love everywhere within us because God has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. Romans 5:1-5 (TLB)

Dear brothers, is your life full of difficulties and temptations? Then be happy, for when the way is rough, your patience has a chance to grow. So let it grow, and don't try to squirm out of your problems. For when your patience is finally in full bloom, then you will be ready for anything, strong in character, full and complete. James 1: 2-4 (TLB)

Jacob Foster , from California, has chronic pain that can inhibit him from carrying out everyday activities. He owned his own irrigation business, and was constantly reminded of the pain in his back. After dealing with pain and stiffness for about a year, he was diagnosed with arthritis in his lower back. For an 18-year-old about to go to college, the diagnosis felt devastating. Jacob questioned God as to why he would have this issue when school and his business were going so well.

But then Jacob saw the bigger picture. He was thinking about what he could do "on my own" instead of who had given him the talents to succeed. He was focused on the gifts instead of the gift-giver. His arthritis reminds him that true joy isn't found in what he was seeking as a high school senior.

Seemingly devastating circumstances can build our character. As Jacob relies on God to help him deal with his back pain, he is learning endurance through Christ that will help him find true joy in God.

Many of us deal with daily pain of one source or another, but when we have learned to trust in God, it is much easier to find joy, even in the pain.

Prayer: Dear God, thank you for remaining with us through our struggles. Help us to find true joy in you, in Jesus' name. Amen.

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