How can Christians be joyful in difficult circumstances?

How can Christians be joyful in difficult circumstances?

"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!" Philippians 4:4

"Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Just recently, I have been asked repeatedly about God’s sovereignty, and how it can exist alongside his goodness, especially in the face of all the suffering that we see in the world. (For more info on this, please read the article entitled “Good God?”)

Now this all very well and um good, and it seems to make some level of sense, but what about when suffering and difficulty come close to us?

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