There are some days when it takes all your energy just to put one foot in front of the other. If your life is hurting, and your dreams have faded, there is still hope. The trials may not go away, but you can choose how you will go through the tough times. When you take on the perspective of Christ your whole attitude of dealing with disappointment or hurt can change.

How to rejoice through hard times:

*Know you are not alone. Though you may look different from the next person, have a different house and job, the one thing that unites us is that we all know what it means to hurt. Suffering is a universal language. Tears are the same for married, unmarried, or divorced; for Jews, Muslims, Christians; for white, black, or brown; for children, adults, or the elderly.

*You have a living hope. You don't have to concern yourself over what happens on this earth when you know that it is leading you to your eternal destination.

*You have a permanent inheritance. You have a secure home in heaven. Your place is reserved under the safekeeping, constant, omnipotent surveillance of Almighty God.

*You have divine protection. The power of God is your security. You will not be lost in the process of suffering. No matter what the calamity, the disappointment, or depth of pain, your soul is divinely protected.

*You can accept and trust. Accept the mystery of hardship, suffering, misfortune, or mistreatment. Then, deliberately trust God to protect you by His power - from this moment to the dawning of eternity.

*Trials develop your faith. Trials are often necessary, proving the genuineness of your faith and at the same time teaching you humility. They reveal your helplessness and can put you on your face before God.

*Trials teach you compassion. You will never make light of another's test or cruelly force others to smile when enduring hardship. Your trials will teach you what others are feeling.

*You have an unseen Savior. You have not physically seen Jesus, but you love Him nevertheless. You can sense His presence with absolute confidence and rejoice that He is there with you.

Mike Yorkey is a free-lance writer, former editor of Focus on the Family magazine, and author or co-author of several books, including The Second Decade of Love and Saving Money Any Way You Can. He and his wife, Nicole, have two teen-age children.
Sandra P. Aldrich's most recent books are Bless Your Socks Off, Kids Fight When the Phone Rings, and Men Read Newspapers, Not Minds. Widowed mother of two adult children, she speaks frequently at writers' workshops and women's conferences.