Trouble and a joyful heart


Photo credit:  Jale Feeman

So…. this is how the week started out…. Vehicle #1 is down for the count.  No big deal, right?  We can share two vehicles between the three of us.

Fast forward to Tuesday, vehicle #2 also goes down for the count.

Ok, we still have one vehicle… we can make this work.

Fast forward to Wednesday noon… I can hear it in Daniel’s voice when he calls.  He just finished up his first class of the semester and is heading home for a few hours before his evening class.  Only, he’s not heading home because vehicle #3 has decided to go on strike just like the other two.  Seriously, when he explained the situation, all I could do was laugh.

I’d like to say that vehicle issues are the only issues that have come up this week, but that wouldn’t be true.  For fun, let’s throw in the stomach flu, a migraine headache, a random viral illness with fever and chills, and pesky technological issues in our household just to round it out.

I’m sure many of you can relate, right?

Some weeks are just like that.  Some seasons of life are like that too.

But you know what I say?  So what!!

So what if it feels like life is falling apart all around us.  Feelings can be misleading, and dwelling on our frustrating circumstances will actually make us feel even worse.

Just like I mentioned in my last post, it’s about focus.

What do I know to be true?

In John 16:33, Jesus was talking to his disciples, and he said, “I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace.  In this world, you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world.”

When Jesus refers to “these things,” He is referencing suffering yet to come.

But Jesus doesn’t leave the disciples on a grim note.  He tells them to “take heart,” which means be encouraged, be optimistic, keep your eye on the prize, because He has “overcome the world.”  If you’ve read the end of the Book, then you already know that. He wins, and if we are with Him, then we win too!

So can you be joyful in troubled times?  Do you want to know my opinion?

I say:  It’s a choice.  It’s your choice.  So why not choose joy?

We will always face frustrations, challenges, and failures, and not just minor ones like the ones I’ve experienced this week.  **I just want to clarify that when I mentioned suffering above, I’m not placing myself in that category.  Many people around our world are truly suffering, and many of us (including myself) have little idea of what true suffering is.

Yes, we will all have rough patches and rocky roads, but we can choose to be joyful.

James 1:2-4 actually says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 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.”

On the other side of trials and trouble is the promise of growth, and through every circumstance we have the promise of God’s presence and guidance.  He said he would never leave us.  Never means never.

So, I choose to walk in joy, and I hope you do too, in spite of your present circumstances.  Make the people around you wonder why you can be joyful in troubled times.  You may get the opportunity to share the Reason for your hope!


And because I know you’re eagerly waiting for an update on our vehicle saga, vehicle #3 just needed a new battery and is up and running.  Vehicle #2 is functional and its issues will be addressed this weekend by my amazing personal mechanic.  And vehicle #1 has more extensive issues which will also be addressed by said mechanic at a later date.

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  1. Carol Mosolf on January 19, 2017 at 10:28 am

    Thank you for your encouragement. Yes, we all have weeks and seasons of trials and temptations, to give in to the negative. But we also have a choice to follow the Light. When I focus on the storms I begin to sink. But when I shift to Jesus my Lord, joy starts to flow even before the storm stops. Thank you for the reminder to choose.

    • joymclaughlin on January 19, 2017 at 12:26 pm

      Carol, you’ve got it right! We can have joy in the middle of the storm, and with that comes peace. It can be a tough lessen to learn, but so worth it!

  2. Debbie Towell on January 19, 2017 at 11:51 am

    I enjoy your writings and how we all can relate to it. Like you said focus.

    • joymclaughlin on January 19, 2017 at 12:24 pm

      Thanks, Debbie! Yes, it seems like a simple concept, but we can get so easily distracted by our circumstances. It’s great to hear from you!

  3. Cheryl Hoover on January 20, 2017 at 9:16 am

    I am truly enjoying your use of words as you share and express your faith. Never knew that was one of your talents. Thanks Joy.

    • joymclaughlin on January 20, 2017 at 9:42 am

      Thank you, Cheryl! I hope you and your family are doing well! I miss our talks!

  4. Vicki Mark on January 26, 2017 at 6:14 pm

    Thanks Joy for reminding me we can choose to be happy in the mist of when things are not going well in our life.we just need to put our trust in God and he will help us get through anything.

    • joymclaughlin on February 9, 2017 at 12:30 pm

      So great to hear from you, Vicki! It’s a reminder we all need from time to time! You’re right, He’ll help us through any and all situations if we let Him.

  5. Beth on January 31, 2017 at 8:33 am

    I really needed that reminder this week. I get to choose. I choose Joy. Your writing is amazing my friend. And it always seems to be right on time for me. Can’t wait to read what comes next

    • joymclaughlin on February 9, 2017 at 12:31 pm

      Beth, you’re so sweet! I’m so thankful for our friendship! You always make me smile:)

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