“Happiness depends on what happens; joy does not.”
Everyone experiences adversity at one time or another in their lives. Disappointments, loss, unmet expectations, or our life story not turning out the way we had hoped, are just a few of the troubles we encounter. Even though we may not understand what God is up to or why He’s allowing the trial to take place, we can still trust Him.
Trust doesn’t have to do with our circumstances or even the outcome. Trust has everything to do with who God is and what His nature is like. We’re able to trust God in the hard times because we know He is loving, kind, good and wise. Because of God’s character, I can say I don’t get this and I don’t like this, but God is trustworthy.
Our choice to rejoice isn’t based on our situations, but is grounded in who God is. The prophet Habakkuk learned to rest in God’s sovereignty when his world turned upside down. “Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior (Habakkuk 3:17-18). Habakkuk learned to trust in the providence of God, regardless of his circumstances. Through faith, he was able to choose joy.
It would have been easy for Habakkuk to complain, focus on being a victim or have a pity party. Instead, he rose above all those reactions and by faith believed God knew what He was doing and was in control. It’s supernatural when people choose to rejoice in spite of their difficulty. Leon Bloy writes, “Joy is the most infallible sign of the presence of God.”
I want to encourage you to not let trials steal your joy or to allow hardships to snuff out your contentment. As an alternative, focus on what you do have. When our eyes are only on our lack and loss, we become negative and discontent. So, fix your gaze on Jesus and be thankful. Ask God to help you trust Him and then let your ‘chooser’ decide to rejoice.
“Life need not be easy to be joyful. Joy is not the absence of trouble but the presence of Christ.”
William Van der Hoven
In what situation do you need to choose joy? Ask God for His grace to trust Him.