Our Prince of Peace told us to expect troubles and to “take heart” from him and how he dealt with them (Matthew 9:22; Mark 6:50; John 16:33). The Apostles in their many persecutions and sufferings encouraged us to follow the Lord’s example:
Paul taught, “Give thanks in all circumstances for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
James, the brother of our Lord, agreed, “Consider it pure joy… whenever you face trials of many kinds” (James 1:2).
Peter also urged us to praise God in difficult and painful situations (1 Peter 1:3-9).
Being thankful when we have problems? Having “pure joy” in pain and injustice? Praising God when things go wrong?
The Kingdom of the Heavens is for Us!
In The Apprentice Prayer after accepting our tribulations we exclaim with gratitude to God, “Yes, today I will rejoice because I am in your eternal kingdom, you love me, and you are teaching me!” Even in bad circumstances the Kingdom of the Heavens is present for us and it’s flowing with rivers of righteousness, peace, and joy (Romans 14:17). Let’s drink in!
We’re shifting our focus from the storm thundering to the Lord resting. Instead of stressing out over changing our unhappy situation, we’re praying to change our unhappy self, focusing on the one thing in life that we’re responsible for, which also is our greatest opportunity: asking Jesus to teach us how to become more like him.
Join in the Work of His Kingdom
Paul helps us adjust our perspective. He says that our troubles our “light and momentary” and the image of Christ that God is forming in us is “an eternal glory that outweighs them all.” When we “fix our eyes on” this we are “renewed day by day” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18). Accordingly, I like to pray along these lines:
Lord Jesus, you are wonderful to me and you are doing something good that I’m not yet seeing. So I’m watching to see what you’re doing in this situation and what you want to teach me. I’m ready to join with you in the work of your kingdom and to follow you however you lead me in this trial.
We may suffer great losses, injustices, or pain and from the world’s perspective things may not go well for us. But if we realize that we can thrive in The Kingdom — and therefore do not need to be overwhelmed by or defined by our problem situation — then we have reason to be wonderfully happy!