Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Even If. . .

 “When life is good, enjoy it.
But when life is hard, remember; God gives good times, and hard times and no one knows what tomorrow will bring.”
Ecclesiastes 7:14

Several weeks ago, I wrote about a book I've been studying for my ladies Bible study group called "Cultivating Contentment" (Here). The most recent chapter we've been studying is on being content, "even if" trials and hardships come into our lives. I think for most of us, that is something we struggle with, no matter how strong our faith is.

To find joy and contentment while in pain and suffering is just not a natural response. Our natural tendency is to be angry, resentful, even depressed.
But, not only does God call us to be content, but He also instructs us to consider it "pure joy" in James 1:2!  
"Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,whenever you face trials of many kinds,"

Umm, o.k., you may be asking(like I did), "Did I just read that right? Is God really saying we must be joyful in times of trials? Why in the world would He tell us to consider it pure joy? And how are we supposed to do that anyways?"
If you continue to read on to verses 3 and 4, it says:
" . . . because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."

 "Nothing any of us experiences is pointless. 
The good, the bad, the ugly, even the things we think will kill us - God uses it all, and He devises our destiny out of the stuff in our trash. He sifts it out, shows us the value, and then uses it to help others because of it."
Luci Swindoll

"I have learned that pain has purpose, which at the peak of excruciating discomfort, brings me little conslolation.
Hindsight, though, has often proven pain's value.
In fact, I have found pain to be one of life's most effective teachers. It gains one's full attention!"
Patsy Clairmont

Because we know that ultimately what's up ahead (if we love and trust God's promises), will be glorious, we CAN find joy, in spite of hardships.

We must also remember that "this too shall pass". Whether it's cancer or problems in a marriage or with our children, knowing that there will be an end to our suffering helps us cope.  

"God's purpose in our temporary discomfort is not to develop calluses that harden our hearts, but to strengthen us and inspire growth."  

In the days ahead, especially on the days when everything seems to be going wrong, bring to mind the Scriptures below. 
  • Ecclesiastes 9:9 and 11:8
  • John 16:33
  • 1 Peter 1:6-7 and 4:12-13
  • Isaiah 41:10 and 54:10
"Face each day with your eyes wide open, looking for what God has for you in each day - especially when those trials come.
Pray that you will be teachable and ready to learn the lessons God wants you to understand. 
Pray you can learn to be content". . .Even If. . .

This song came to my mind right away, as I read and studied about
contentment through difficult times. It's such a great reminder that God IS faithful, EVEN IF the healing doesn't come. . .

Continuing to count my blessings, one by one at   "Multitude on Mondays".
1,411 -  The blooming lilies in my pot on the porch.   
1,412 - A few cooler, but still sunny days.
1,413 - Knowing that even if the clouds return and life is hard, I know God is still faithful and standing(2 Timothy 4:17) beside me through it all.
1,414 - The Lord providing what I needed to fill my bosses shoes, while she is gone on vacation!
1,415 - Thankful for a responsible, hard working husband!
1,416 - The heat and humidity is back, and I am SO thankful for air conditioning!
1,419 - Also, thankful to be living on the lake, where I can cool off on one of my floatation mattresses on the water!
1,418 - Watching a para-sailer on our lake, as I float on the water.

1,419 - Being reminded of the small joys God brings into life...like para-sailing! (Such a creative recreational activity)
1,420 - My hubby joining me in the water, when he got home from work. Spending time just floating and talking.     


  1. There is something amazingly healing about realizing that God can use absolutely everything that happens in our life for good! So we "forget what lies behind & press on toward the goal"(Jesus Christ). I love what you've written here today. Love & prayers, in Jesus, Cynthia

    1. Amen, Cynthia! Pressing toward the goal is exactly what we do!! I also think of Romans 8:18 "I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us." Thanks for stopping by and sharing your comment!

  2. Thank you, Ann, for this very timely post. The struggles and pain of the last few months have been so difficult. And yet, I am consoled by knowing that God does not waste experiences. He has a reason, though I may never know it this side of heaven, for every tear I weep.

    I found great encouragement here today. Learning to be content is so hard in the middle of trials. But, pressing forward to the finish line is my goal. That's where the reward is - that's what God promises. And, thank goodness, we NEVER walk alone!!


    1. Trials can be so draining, both physically and emotionally! I'm so glad you found encouragement here, Sharon! So glad, too that He is with us always!! Praying for God to continue to show you His love and comfort during your hardship!!

  3. Love your list. And yes, finding joy and contentment in trials and hard times is difficult, but I learned that it can indeed be done and in fact is the perfect time to offer up those sacrifices to the Lord ... that is how the contentment is found. That is how joy fills the heart. Blessings to you today! :)

    1. So true, Chelsey! God uses our trials to draw us closer to Him! Thanks so much for stopping in!

  4. Thank you so much for sharing this post. I remember, at a particularly difficult time of my life, God had me write each day at least one thing that I was grateful for. It's amazing how we take so many things for granted. Contentment in God could never be over-rated.

    1. So true, Audrey! It is so very good to write down our blessings, as it reminds us of all we DO have, even when times are tough!

  5. As I learn through trials of pain and sorrow, I feel closer to God. I also feel that I am growing in the image of Christ. My purposes, I do believe, are those things...growing closer and growing more in His image. Thanks for the perfect Scriptures to place with these thoughts. As I journal these thoughts, I will add these verses to my words.
    May His blessings rain upon you as He reigns in Your heart.
    Caring through Christ, ~ linda


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