Discouragement and even despair, can be the soil in which joy grows and multiplies.

If we survive our desperate days (and surviving is always what we should choose to do), we can find ourselves afterward having a more responsive heart. Suffering can teach us how to rejoice in a way that is more genuine and true.

Not all joys are created equal. Some are richer and deeper than others. We need the lighter kind, of course, the many casual joys of ordinary living that we should never take for granted. But we also need the more meaningful joys, those that resonate within us at deeper levels. And the deepest joys of this kind are those that we’ve discovered in the midst of despair.

Hardships give God an opportunity to show us His grace, and the display of God’s grace gives us an opportunity to offer our gratitude to Him. Not only that, but when God blesses us, that gives others an occasion for thanksgiving too. So Paul could say that he was glad for his own deliverance from death because it gave his brethren reason to rejoice: “that thanks may be given by many persons on our behalf for the gift granted to us.”

So we should learn to give thanks for the difficulties that make possible a greater joy. The point is not that we should go looking for pain and suffering, but rather that when these things happen to appear in our lives, we should respond to them rightly. A right response includes among other things, the attitudes of peaceful acceptance and unswerving thankfulness in all things.

We can be thankful not for the pain but for its result;- a heart more joyously fixed on God. Slowly but surely, God is conforming us to His character. Sometimes with pleasure and sometimes with pain, He is (ever and always) teaching us what love is.

CFD Moule was spot on:- “If joy is not rooted in the soil of suffering, it is shallow.”