As part of my regular ministry I meet with people who are suffering. I notice one thread that runs through people who have joy in their suffering; they are people deeply marked by gratitude.
They are painfully aware of their suffering but they are equally aware of the gifts of life that are given every day. They deeply know the truth of James 1:17 "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like the shifting shadows".
They wake up in the morning and give thanks for the day even though they know it will have trials. They give thanks for food, care givers, beds, TV, email, friends, family, animals, sun, rain etc... Their lives are permeated with gratitude.
They are most thankful for our Lord Jesus, the crucified man of many sorrows, well acquainted with grief. The one who "bore our infirmities". The meditate on his passion and crucifixion. They know he knows the pain they suffer and they know most profoundly the daily grace he offers and the promise of the resurrection. They talk about heaven with joy and expectation because they know our Lord is preparing a new and glorious life.
One doesn't have to be suffering to begin this process of cultivating gratitude. Try writing those things for which you give thanks to the Father of lights..