“Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise.” – James 5:13
What is your life looking like? Is it full of joy? Full of pain? Are you satisfied with where you are or are you longing to be somewhere else, doing something else? When we read these words from Jesus’ little brother let’s not see them as only “suffering” or only “cheerful”. Rather, consider the full breadth of our human experience in these two categories. There are some who are truly suffering from physical, verbal, emotional, and spiritual persecution, but when we find ourselves going through life unable to fulfill the passion that God has given us we are suffering in a way as well. If you are sad, you are suffering. If you are lost and unsure of where to go and what to do next, you are suffering. When you can feel the spiritual conflict all around you, you are suffering. In these times of suffering remember to pray. God may not take away the suffering, but He will make it purposeful and help you to have true joy through it.
On the other hand take hope in the cheerful days. On the days that you wake up and feel the spark of hope that comes from the Holy Spirit for what is to come take the time to rejoice. When you get your paycheck, rejoice. When you are blessed to find a parking spot in the same county as the store you are shopping at, rejoice. Be cheerful in the little things of life and the big ones will follow. Don’t let a single cheerful moment slip away without recognizing that it is a gift from God to you.