Holding Onto Joy In The Midst Of Suffering

For many of us, life is hard. Our daily circumstances seem to conspire to try to rob us of our happiness and more importantly our joy our inner joy.

Maybe you’re stuck in a job that you do not like and doesn’t pay enough to cover your bills or maybe your unemployed or on disability.

Maybe your facing health issues that drain you both physically and mentally daily, maybe you’re struggling with a health problem that makes it difficult to do even the most basic everyday activities.

Maybe you’re in a difficult marriage or have a strained relationship with a family member.

Maybe you’re just trying to follow Jesus, but the people around you tease you and make fun of you for being a Christian. Or even for believing in God.

In the midst of all this negative reality experiencing a constant, deep, and long lasting joy can seem often impossible.

You may even feel unworthy of Gods joy because your not perfect and have done things displeasing to God. We all would fit in that category. But God Loves us as we are flaws and all. He doesn’t expect perfection he just wants us to love him as he loves us.

The bible repeatedly talks about experiencing a kind of joy that transcends all our circumstances.

Jesus told his disciples that he wanted them to experience the fullness of his joy in their lives John 14:11

The apostle Paul calls believers to “Rejoice always” 1 Thes 5:16

But how is that possible?

Paul wrote a letter to the Philippians that is saturated with joy. Even as he suffered.

Sixteen times in just four chapters Paul uses words like rejoice or joy to describe what our state of mind or general attitude should be as Christians.

And he writes this letter in the midst of his own difficult circumstances and suffering .

He was under house arrest in Rome, living in an apartment chained to a different soldier every few hours. Then on top of this he had a three year prison sentence.

So by the time he wrote to the Philippians, he had been in Roman custody for several years. Yet rather than allow his circumstances to drive him to despair, he experienced deep joy and pleaded with the Philippians to share in his joy.

Are you the same person when your going through good times as in bad?

Are you the same when your going through difficulties, disappointments illness or pain is your conduct the same? Is your attitude the same?

Is the pain , suffering or distress seen all over your face?

Do you find yourself less friendly?

How’s your temperament?

Are you appearing to be a different person?

Are you less kind?

Do you let hard-times get you down?

Do you tend to also bring others down?

Are you less friendly always seeing the negative vs looking for the positive?

Are you only happy when everything is going your way?

Are you the same person sick as when you are well?

You say you trust Jesus but do you really? You say your a believer but are you honestly?

Are you struggling in hard times, How does sorrow or illness or physical or emotional pain cause you to respond?

Are you wiped out?

Feel like throwing in the towel?

Are you the same when things go right as when things go wrong?

What happened to your faith?

It’s it these times you need to hold on to it more than ever

What happened to your relationship with Jesus?

That relationship doesn’t change.

Maybe you just don’t know the difference between happiness and joy.

Look at

Philippians 4:1-4

We are to stand firm in the lord.

Rejoice in the Lord always !

Many people sometimes have all the reason in the world to be unhappy but are not.

There are people struggling with pain every single day, day in day out pain,people struggling with and illness fighting every day to survive and live one more day.

We have to understand there is a difference in joy and happiness.

Sure we’re not happy about our situation but we need to remain joyous in the Lord and in our heart. As he will see us through.

When we are struggling we need to stop being so critical of others and judge-mental.

Stop nit picking-and finding fault in what others do. Be grateful they are in your life.

Be grateful for what God has done for you, tell the world how good God has been to you.

See the glass half full vs half empty.

You know when Paul wrote that verse above and Phillipians he had all the reason to be upset and bitter.

He was in a prison, probably tortured and thought he’d be put to death.

But instead of losing himself in the negative he held on to his faith more than ever.

He told everyone how good the Lord was to him.

Read Philippians 4:1-4 again

It says live in harmony, stand firm in the Lord and rejoice in him always. Not when things are smooth and all is perfect but always. In the good and not so good times.

Somehow in those conditions he writes about being joyous in the Lord.

See Paul knew just how to handle his situation he was joyful he had triumphant joy!

He knew no matter what the Lord was with him .

He was not allowing his faith to be shaken. If anything he became stronger.

What will it take for you to have joy in your life?

How are you handling your situation?

Joy is what lives within us. It gets us through the hard times. Joy depends on your relationship with Jesus Christ.

Happiness depends on our circumstances , what you have, what has you.

There is a huge difference in joy and happiness.

To me Joy is that feeling I get knowing no matter what I am going through I have God by my side, It’s unchanging. Never shaken. Joy is a – God – feeling.

Happiness is what I feel if I would get a raise, or my circumstances. Happiness is lighthearted feeling. Happy when I see family.

Most of the times we allow circumstances to determine our feelings , our mood, if we’re happy or sad ,mad or glad nice to be around or just a downer.

But we have to stop that.

We have to stand and rely on our faith more than ever especially in hard times. When we have faith sealed we know that no matter what happens to us in our life what ever we face we have joy and contentment.

Don’t be trapped by your circumstances.

If you look Paul never said he was unhappy, he was accepting and chose to be content in prison sharing the word of God and rejoicing in the Lord. He didn’t dwell on the fact he was locked in a prison cell.

He had unshakable faith and joy.

Have you seen people who get all squirmy in hard times?

Yet some people can go through many more hard times and be unshakable.?

The difference is when things get tough the unshakable go to prayer and thank God in the good and in the hard times.

This is when we grow. This is when we have to rely on our faith and the foundation of our life.

The fruit of the Holy Spirit is love joy peace goodness kindness and it’s overflowing.

Many think God has left them in hard times. He hasn’t , he is right where he always been-you just have to thank him the same in the hard times as well as the good.

Stop dwelling on the negativity in your life and get back to thanking God for all you do have.

And you will be triumphant.

Your happiness may change based on your family friends circumstances in life illness,a new job, a new outfit.

Your Joy will remain the same because our relationship with God is the same. He hasn’t left us we have forgotten him by dwelling on our circumstances.

Look now at

1 Peter 1:3-8 he also suffered yet kept strong in faith and joy.

1 Peter 1:7 your faith is more precious than gold.

Do you have Joy?

Do you have a relationship with the Lord?

I do ! I know God changed me years ago and I know no matter what I face his love for me is the same and my love for him is the change.

If you would like to have a relationship with the Lord

Say

Jesus I want to have a relationship with you , come into my heart and guide me through the hard times as well as the good . I want you as my lord and savior.

Forgive me of my sins and help me to be better.

If you said this prayer you are now born again.

Seek out a good bible based church.And start reading the word of god. Go into nature look at the wonders God created you can always feel his love when in nature . For me I get a peace a calmness as I look in awe at the amazing world we have. The trees, the sun, sky , clouds,flowers.

Listen to your footsteps as you walk or if in a wheelchair listen to the air.

If you are blind hear the beauty if your deaf see the beauty if you are both feel the beauty. It’s all around us. Feel the joy of the presence of God in our life.

May you have a blessed and joyous day.

photo take by me @ Millcreek Park at Newport Lake.

October 2018

There are 2 Ministers I just love to listen to

Rev.Charles Stanley

And

Rev. David Jeremiah

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