I expect I’m in good company when I say that finding “pure joy” in trials does not come easily to me (see James 1:2). However, God has shown me something recently that helps me to find ways to worship Him in these trials—especially the everyday disappointments that come when I, a broken person, brush against other broken people. He is showing me that it is possible to use many of these disappointing, frustrating, and painful things to prompt praise. Here’s the concept: God is the opposite of just about anything I find unjust, hurtful, or discouraging. Human imperfection can serve to point out His holy perfection. Maybe some examples will help you see what I mean.
- If somebody failed to follow through on something that I was counting on, I could remember that God is completely reliable. His “Yes” means “Yes.” What He says, He will do. I can depend on that.
- If somebody rejected me, I could remember that God accepts me in His beloved Son, Jesus. I am His and He is mine. He always wants me, is always happy to see me.
- If somebody misunderstood me, I could remember that God knows me inside and out. He knows every word I will speak, even before it is on my tongue. He fashioned my heart—He understands me!
- If somebody held a grudge against me, I could remember that God forgives all my sins and does not count them against me. He is love, and He keeps no record of wrongs.
- If somebody was always moody and I never knew what to expect when I saw them, I could remember that God is constant; He does not change like shifting shadows. When I go to Him, I can always expect Him to be good, kind, loving, welcoming.
- If someone was impatient or angry with me, I could remember that God is slow to anger, and abounding in love. He is patient with me.
- If somebody was critical of me, I could remember God does not condemn me. Jesus did not come into the world to condemn the world, but to save it—and me. He is merciful and full of grace.
- If someone deceived me, I could remember that Jesus is Truth, and God cannot lie. I can count on whatever He says to be true.
- If someone was demanding or overbearing, I could remember that Jesus gives rest. His yoke is easy and His burden is light. He knows what I am made of and has compassion on me as a father has compassion on his children.
Do you get the idea? When I’ve been hurt or offended, I always need help to “change the channel.” By seeing God’s attributes in light of the disappointment, I can renew my mind. I can tell Him my hurt (disappointment, frustration, etc.), ask Him to lift it from me, and then I can praise Him because He is the opposite—He is faithful, kind, forgiving, patient, understanding, true, good, accepting, steady, strong—He is everything we broken and fallen people are not. And that is reason for praise!