How many times have you found yourself in a situation in which it seemed the best response was to just grin and bear it? We often practice this technique in the small day to day annoyances so that we don’t come across as rude or cranky. We do it when we aren’t feeling well, and someone asks how we’re feeling so we don’t appear to be a whiner. How many times have you heard or said, “Suck it up, Buttercup”? Many of us see this manner of dealing with adversity as a strong trait.
I’ve come to realize that even with the big stuff I tend to take this same approach. It’s as if when I grin and bear it, that is proof of just how strong I am and how much faith I have. But instead maybe it just proves my lack of faith and that I am stubbornly digging my heels in an attempt to do things on my own.
For weeks after my husband’s accident, God was literally carrying me through each day because I did not have the strength to even try and do it on my own at that point. A week or two after the accident, I finally had to leave the hospital to take care of some things at home. It was probably the first time that I had really been alone. I remember a feeling of peace as I drove listening to the Christian radio station and even joy as I began to sing along and truly worship God in the midst of the storm. Our situation was not what I wanted to experience, but it was much better than what I had expected to be dealing with. Even in the stress of our situation, I was able to praise God for all He was doing.
But as time passed, my life started to feel out of control as I began to dig my heels in and grin and bear it. I stopped letting God carry me. I stopped depending on Him and began a daily struggle of depending on me. It’s not easy to admit, but that’s when I began to lose my joy.
In Acts 16, Paul and Silas were thrown in prison after being falsely accused and beaten with no trial. They were treated unfairly and placed in a horrible circumstance, yet verse 25 says they were praying and singing to God. They weren’t dwelling on their physical pain, unfair treatment, or difficult situation. They didn’t simply grin and bear it to prove their faith. They showed that faith by choosing to turn their focus to God. Others in the prison saw and heard their faith including a jailer who along with his family was saved. After an earthquake (v26), salvations (v33), and a heart to heart talk from Paul (v37), the officials released them.
My experience is small compared to that of Paul and Silas. But their response has helped me to refocus, not on the situation but on God and the peace and joy that He gave me months ago during the most difficult of times. I’ve learned that I must continue to choose joy and check my focus daily, and He will continue to give me the strength I need. Others will see that in my life and ultimately bring glory to God.
“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance” (James 1:2-3).
“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13).
“He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless” (Isaiah 40:29).
“Weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning” (Psalms 30:5).
God allows both small trials and big trials in our lives. His desire is not for us to just grin and bear it. He wants us to truly have faith rather than depending on our own strength. He wants us to find a way to focus on Him and rejoice through the trial. He will take care of the rest. Don’t grin and bear it. Choose joy!