rebelling against low expectations

Finding Joy in the Hard Times


Joy in the midst of trials. Is it really possible?

I sit beside my classmates, waiting for this guy to do our chapel service. I gaze out the window, and see only a glimpse of light trying to break through the morning darkness. I just want this over with. So we can go back to class, and I can finish that essay I turned in late and ask someone for help on that one Latin sentence that I just can’t figure out.

It was just a normal day. Until… it wasn’t.

He walks to the front of the classroom with a hint of a smile and a cheerful good morning. My mind begins to wander until he asked a question I wasn’t really expecting: Is there such thing as joy in the midst of trials?

My day-dreaming train of thought comes to a halt as I ponder this inwardly.

“Will you turn to James with me, as we consider this question?” he said to us all.

I flip through pages old and worn with time, not knowing what would stare back at me from them. Will it hurt?, I pray. Is this going to be another one of those times that the Word of God cuts into my soul, and I bleed pain and repentance and that need for unfailing grace?

Then he reads, “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience…” (James 1:2-3)

And then he raises another question, “So, when you guys fall into trials, and difficult times, do you truly consider all of it joy, as you are being tested for your faith?”


Knowing my answer, I wilt a little inside, but trying not to show it so nobody can see the deep lines of pain and confusion written on my forehead.

And I bleed. I bleed from the wound of the Holy Spirit, who engraved this question deep into my innermost being in order to awaken my sleeping heart-fire for God.

And then our eyes meet. His blue eyes burn into my psyche, and that question just won’t go away, and, oh, God, I really can’t take this anymore. I want to have joy no matter what happens but I just can’t do it… on my own.

But neither could Job. Or Esther. Or Ruth. Or David. Or Mary.

And I just want to fall at Christ’s feet and wash them with my tears and wipe them with my hair and anoint them in fragrant oil.


I’m not writing this post to complain about my troubles, my trials, or my problems.


I’m writing you this post to say to you, that, yes, joy IS possible. But not on your own.

There is only One who can give us lasting, satisfying, unwavering joy, even in the testing of our faith.

And that’s Jesus Christ. In Him is the fullness of joy.

I think sometimes we think that happiness is the most important thing in life. But it’s not. You see, happiness… is just an emotion.

Joy is a state of being. Even in hard times.


Photos courtesy of Daveybot and Knowsphotos on Flickr Creative Commons.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

About the author

Rachel Hatcher

is an ordinary 16-year-old with an extraordinary God, who aspires each day to pursue God and to glorify Him. She enjoys reading, hiking, and drinking coffee on rainy days. She strives to be an inspiration to those around her by sharing her love for Jesus and being an encouragement in times of need.

Do Hard Things Community
By Rachel Hatcher
rebelling against low expectations

The Rebelution is a teenage rebellion against low expectations—a worldwide campaign to reject apathy, embrace responsibility, and do hard things. Learn More →