How do you find joy in tribulation?
Often when I’ve been in dark places, I am amazed at the peace that surrounds me, and how the Lord helps me harness my emotional pains and keep my faith in Him. This process has to be supernatural. On the one hand, my mind tells me to panic and on the other hand, I may begin to feel hopeless and depressed. But I learned that to maintain joy, I must go beyond my thoughts and feelings and cultivate the spiritual mind. Romans 8:6 tells us that to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
Having the mind of Christ is a daily challenge. It is a mental state that is easier to achieve before tribulations come, and tough (but not impossible) to achieve after troubles set in.
To preserve joy when you are deeply troubled is truly the surgical skill of the Spirit of God.
I know when I’ve been at my lowest—no money, no job, fewer friends–emotions can be touch and go, on and then off. But, I remind myself that Christ uses the darkness in our lives to help His light shine brightly. As children of God, we are living epistles. We are a note to the world that joy can reign in life’s dark moments.
How Does Joy Happen?
Do I even need to say it? At my weakest point, Christ intercedes for me. When I look at my life, sometimes I wonder how I survived particular events with my sanity intact. Having joy in the midst of troubles is not because of my natural make-up, nor my emotional stamina, meditations, yoga classes, pills, cups of tea nor anything else I may use to bring calm to my life.
Simply put, it is Christ and Him alone that pleads my case to the Father and the Spirit of God that comforts my mind.
Christ indicates in scripture that joy is something a person has based on intimate knowledge of God. Consider the following:
And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh (will take) from you. John 16:22
Christ encouraged the disciples that the knowledge that he rose from the dead would be the source of their joy.
Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full. John 16:24
In other words, the action of asking and receiving and the knowledge of the realness of God will create a fullness of joy.
What is Joy?
Joy means gladness because I know God and I am aware of His presence in my life. It is definitely a feeling, but it’s a feeling based on the fact that I have peace with God. Such statements may sound arrogant to some, but if you believe the Bible, you understand that a person can have a genuine connection with God through Jesus Christ. This knowledge brings gladness and yes, happy feelings.
That’s right; it will bring a good feeling along with it! When we look at scriptures concerning joy, bottom line, he is not talking about sad feelings, is he? Happy feelings do go along with joy, but we have to find out how to first maintain joy in our situations. Often Bible teachers try to separate joy and happiness, but if you have joy, happy feelings are inevitable.
So Why Do I Feel So Miserable Sometimes?
When oppressed by problems, trauma, or stressful situations it is in our natural makeup as humans to focus on that problem. As rational beings (at least we like to think so) we try our best to eliminate the negative in our lives. We can’t turn a blind eye to reality. When we see the bills coming in, the problems with our loved ones, experience a loss or a difficult time in our lives the reality of the situation will hit us hard and emotionally, as our minds grapple with this, it is natural to feel sad.
Just think. If I never felt sad, glad would be pretty dreary.
Having experienced deep pain, I understand the battle that happens during these times, but this is why I write about spiritual awareness. If we can be aware is what is taking place in the spiritual realm, we can overcome victoriously in this Christian life. The knowledge that God’s presence is there if only by faith, has given me great joy in during the storms.
So if you want joy to remain, know that:
That God is real
That He is a problem solver
That He loves you and cares about your well-being
That is ability to change things is infinite
That he understands your past, present and future
If you meditate on these things, I guarantee the knowledge of these truths and the depths of their meaning for your life here on earth, will cause you to have great joy.