Author | Speaker | Encourager


Rejoicing When Life Goes Sideways


How does God want us to love?

I used to “love” through control. A parent’s perspective has the hindsight and wisdom gleaned from their own journey.

And it’s our job to share our journey, with all its successes and mistakes, with our kids. Hopefully, imparting wisdom and learning lessons packed with love.

Occasionally, I’ll see my child’s eyes light with understanding as they get an “aha” application for their own passage through life.

Other times, I see them heading toward a bump in the road and I start pounding my wisdom down their throats, trying to get that light to turn on so they avoid the wreck I see coming.

The hardest lesson for me? Recognizing their journey is not mine to hijack or fix. That bruise on their shin from falling down becomes an opportunity for God to teach them His lesson, His way, and in His timing. (And amazingly enough, He’s never asked my advice on how to go about that.)

How much do we trust our kids to God? Our marriage, our finances, our relationships?

That changes for me depending on how full my tank is. I have earned a master’s degree in yanking the wheel from God’s hands.

So what am I doing about it? I’m practicing rejoicing when a difficulty comes barreling up the sidewalk and crashing through my front door (James 1:2).

Many of us can recite the verse, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds.” But familiarity doesn’t mean friendship. How many of us go straight to rejoicing when a difficulty lands on our front porch?

Rejoice in Hardship

Sounds crazy. But if God asks us to rejoice, what does He have in store for us?

  • Joy
  • Strengthening of character
  • A changed perspective for our situation
  • A peace that passes understanding
  • A heavenly resilience to earthly problems
  • An overcoming nature

That sounds so much better than what we normally have in challenging times:

  • Worry
  • Fear
  • Uncertainty
  • Disastrous outcomes running through our imaginations
  • Depression
  • Negativity coming out of our mouths
  • Judgments

11776042654_9f6d0b907b_zWhat if we tried rejoicing? What if we got a couple of friends and decided to try it together? To help remind each other—-when we start grumbling over the missed promotion—-to rejoice in God’s goodness. To rejoice in what He’s about to do in our lives. To rejoice in His provision (not our boss’s) for our survival.

We can practice together.

What if our rejoicing creates an atmosphere around us that invites God’s presence to work in a way He couldn’t through our negativity (which is so closely tied to unbelief).

What if He asks us to rejoice in order to change us, so we can change the world around us?


Father, teach me how to look to You and rejoice in Your goodness. To rejoice in the promises You have in store for me. To rejoice in how You promise to shape me through my circumstances. Help me to get my eyes off what I see in the natural and rejoice until I see through Your eyes and gain a heavenly perspective for Your purposes in my life. Help me to persevere and gain the strength and character that You are wanting to develop in me. Teach me how to trust You when all I can see is the hard thing in front of me. Teach me an elevated perspective by rejoicing in how good You are and how much You love me and have my back. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Photo via Faramarz Hashemi via Flickr

Photo by xia.aike via Flickr

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