When you have many kinds of troubles, you should be full of joy because you know that these troubles test your faith, which will give you patience. James 1:2-3
II will be honest with my first thought in reading this passage .. Be joyful in the midst of pain? Seeing the idea that joy is a choice is hard for me to grasp, especially in the midst of challenges(troubles).
One summer, my daughter and I were sitting on the sand, making a sandcastle. My job was to find all the seashells for decorating the sandcastle while she made walls and carved windows. So we began to sort through my bucket full of shells and found an oyster shell.
I looked at my daughter, held up the oyster shell, and started to share a story about how an oyster forms a pearl. It begins with a grain of sand finding its way inside the shell; the sand causes the oyster much pain. Then, in response to the pain, it slowly and patiently turns the grain of sand over and over again, covering it with a coating, smoothing out the edges, and eventually turning into a pearl. My daughter was so fascinated by that story that she now looked for oyster shells, and I began to build the walls and windows.
Just like the process of a grain of sand to a pearl, we have troubles that cause us much pain and suffering. The joy comes from knowing that in troubles(suffering) that God is slowly and patiently refining us - imparting wisdom, increasing our faith, strengthening our character, teaching us to trust and depend on His grace. The joy knows that God is with us through it all, no matter what!
Once God has smoothed out all the edges, we will see a beautiful pearl of patience, deeper faith, grace, humility, and more.
When you find yourself amid troubles and finding it hard to find joy, turn your attention to God's goodness. Even when it seems that things are not working in your favor, know that God is working for your good