No one is glad about the negative aspects of life. We all cringe when trials happen, and we often run and hide from the pain and fear of it all. There is so much negative in the world that people often fail to see anything positive. However, rather than adding a pessimistic attitude and negative emotions to our miserable circumstances, if we start to praise God in them, He will eventually work out everything for our good (Romans 8:28).
We do not have to praise God “for” our circumstances, but a key to defeating Satan’s strongholds in our life is to praise God in spite of them. The Christian has the best advantage when it comes to adversity. James advises us to rejoice in our suffering (James 1:2-8). That sounds like the advice of a crazy man, but I am here to tell you that it works. James’ advice is actually very sensible.
Rejoicing in our suffering makes no human sense, but it makes every spiritual sense. We are telling God that we trust Him with our spiritual eyes, no matter what our life looks like with our natural eyes. At times, life takes us captive in unbearable situations. If we are so absorbed in feeling negative about these issues, we will miss seeing the hand of God in them.
Paul told us that suffering works character in our life and gives us qualities such as perseverance, which eventually produce hope. Hope helps us to rise above any disappointment we feel. We rejoice in hope and develop patience through our trials with the help of praying without ceasing (Romans 5:3-5, 12:12; 1 Thessalonians 15-18). Patience will have her perfect work in us (James 1:2-4). This allows God to fill us with His joy and peace by the power of His Holy Spirit (Romans 15:13).
Our Father God pours out His love into our hearts and His Holy Spirit resides within each person who believes that Jesus is God who came in the flesh and who surrenders their life to Him. Love is the emotion of the heart. You cannot prove it. You just feel it, and you know it is there. In this same way, faith is the emotion of our spirit. We cannot prove it, we just feel it, and we know it is there.
God pours out His love on us regardless of our circumstances. We can trust Him in faith with every moment of our day – in all the good, the bad, and the ugly issues that we face. Rejoicing in them shifts our focus from our self to God’s presence and care for us. We keep our mind fixed on Him, and He works out everything for our eventual good (Isaiah 26:3; Romans 8:28).
God never leaves us or forsakes us (Hebrews 13:5). He walks with us through every event in our life – the advantageous and the cruel. He even walks with us through the valley of the shadow of death (Psalm 23:4). When we cooperate with Him rather than spending our time fighting our circumstances, He always makes a way for us, even where there seems to be no way.
When one door closes on us, God always opens another one for us – an even better one than we could ever imagine. When we persevere by the power of His Holy Spirit within us, He develops in us the character to believe that He has our best interest at heart (Romans 8:28). If we are locked in a prison of adversity and we do not see any way out, we may panic, grieve, get weary and discouraged, or just give up.
However, God helps us to change our focus from our dismal negative circumstances to His limitless grace and power. This allows us to relax and to enter His rest. We learn to believe that God has a purpose for allowing the unconstructive issues in our life, just as He has a plan for our overall life (Romans 8:28; Jeremiah 29:11). If we resist the negative, we may miss the positive that God is working out in our life through our trials. Faith in God’s faithfulness gives us wings to fly above every sorrow and concern (Psalm 55:6).
Written by Kathleen Bradley. Kathleen was born in Trenton, New Jersey, and her parents transplanted her at age five to Pensacola, FL. At 18, she met Jesus Christ at Pensacola Junior College in the Baptist Student Union. At twenty, she married a pastor; and, since then, has enjoyed over 50 years of ministry with the Lord. She now resides in the Heartland of the USA in a tiny village of Valier, IL and she helps her husband as he pastors the Valier First Baptist.