Refer to Step 10: I choose to believe God still has a purpose for my life—a purpose for good and not evil.
I love those who can smile in trouble, who can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. ‘Tis the business of little minds to shrink, but they whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves their conduct, will pursue their principles unto death.
The Scriptures teach us to “count it all joy” when we experience difficult “trials” in our lives. When you read this for the first time, it seems like it must be a typo, doesn’t it? In your mind you say, Surely, God doesn’t expect me to count it all joy when I’ve lost my job, my house, my child, or my health, does He?
As difficult as it seems, that’s precisely what He wants you to do—to count it all joy. Simply because you do not see a way out of an encumbering circumstance doesn’t mean there isn’t one. God’s thoughts are higher than our thoughts, and He knows the outcome. From His perspective, it’s already a done deal. All He is waiting for is for you to fall in line.
The way to fall in line is by putting everything in His hands, especially the outcome, which you have no control over anyway. Look to Him; thank Him for your circumstances; and fall in step by doing the next right thing. When you do, numerous character qualities will be enhanced within you.
Everybody has trials. Everybody has disappointments. Everybody has failures. It’s what you do with them that counts. If you chafe, becoming bitter and petulant, you will have failed to grow in an area where you need to mature. This means you need to repeat the exercise—like a student who needs to retake a failed course. The choice is yours: you can either demonstrate wisdom, by “counting it all joy” when difficulties arise, or you can continue to repeat your mistakes.
I’ve gone through many trials with mixed results. Like most, I’ve chafed more than I should have, which has meant I’ve been forced to repeat the learning process numerous times. Now, when difficulties come my way, I choose to repeat this chorus:
You give and take away
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say
Lord blessed be Your name.
In everything give thanks; for this is God’s well for you in Christ Jesus. (I Thessalonians 5:18)