Summary: Paul gives some timely advice on finding joy in the midst of adverse circumstances.
Remember that ever-present line in the classic Carpenter’s song, “Rainy days and Mondays always get me down”? Why does it seem that life offers us more rainy days and Mondays than clear sunny days? Maybe the reason that they get us down is the fact that they often seem to take us by surprise. We want to believe that life is supposed to be smooth sailing and tough times should be the exception, but they’re not. James reminds us that there will be all types of trials and temptations that will try to crowd into our lives. The truth is, life is difficult. However, we should never view life as bleak and grim. The difficult times should be welcomed because the enable God to grow us. Paul had quite a bit to say about this subject, but you never get the sense that Paul is complaining about his hardships. He had a very realistic perspective in regard to them. Paul even managed to find comfort amidst the difficulties in life. Let’s take a close look at Paul’s prescription for beating the blues.
I. The pain of the rainy days.
A. Troubles that faced Paul in his ministry.
1. Beatings, imprisonment, sleeplessness and hunger.
2. That was just the external struggles; consider the internal struggles.
3. Consider the word fear used here; it reflects the feelings of dread, panic and the shrinking of courage.
4. Paul and his workers hide to fight against fear and the desire to run.
B. Not only did Paul struggle with fear, he faces the reality of dealing with depression.
1. Everyone faces depression from time to time; some depressions linger over us like a cloud, while others go away a little quicker.
2. Many Christians deny their depression; they feel if they aren’t sunny all the time they are letting Christ down.
3. When you deny your depression, you deny reality because life is not always going to be sunny.
4. The facts are; we need to prepare our lives for darkness, long shadows, and rainy days.
II. Discovering how to find joy amid all the rain.
A. The joyful song in Paul’s life was obviously not from a lack of problems.
1. In spite of the struggles and the rain Paul discovered joy.
2. Paul was glad to see his friend Titus and to hear the good news he brought.
3. Paul found joy in the fact that things were greatly improved in the Corinthian church.
4. The Corinthians missed Paul and were distressed by what he was going through, but better yet, they were rooting Paul on.
B. God often works through hardships to produce something special in the lives of believers.
1. Paul discovered joy in what God was doing in the lives of the Corinthians.
2. Paul’s faith always managed to help him discover joy.
3. When we truly accept God for who He is, we will soon discover that there is nothing that enters our life that He cannot help us overcome.
4. Because we know that He loves us, we are confident that He will never abandon us and will always work out His purpose for our lives.
5. This is a promise that can truly bring a ray of sun to all those rainy days.
III. The prescription for beating the blues.
A. Do not deny the difficulties that complicate our lives.
1. We cannot deny the difficult times that we face in our lives.
2. If we deny the rain, we also deny the warmth and comfort that God wants to give us.
B. Resentment of the rain will keep us from growing.
1. We need to stop viewing troubles as intruders, but view them as friends.
2. There are many lessons to learn from the storms of life.
3. The storms of life bring with them maturity, if we view them in the right light.
C. Four traps to look out for when it rains.
1. When you become a Christian, all your problems are solved.
2. You will never have to face any problems that are not specifically addressed in the Bible.
3. If you are having problems, it is a sign that you are unspiritual.
4. Being exposed to sound Biblical teaching will automatically solve all your problems.
D. So the next time you face the blues that comes with the rain.
1. The next time it rains don’t go running for your umbrella, stop, look and listen.
2. Don’t feel sorry for yourself, and above all do not search for others to blame.
3. When the rain starts, begin searching for the lessons to be learned.
4. Listen to the silent lyrics of joy that God is singing in your ear.
5. If you will trust in Him, He will always put a song in your heart.