Friend, do you wonder if it is possible to have joy in a season of suffering? What kind of joy this could be and how can we cultivate such unconditional joy?
The recent loss of my husband has plunged me in a season of suffering and deep grief. Nothing could bring me joy. Every day I would wake up with a heavy heart, feeling an awful emptiness inside like a crushing weight. One of the questions I keep asking myself all the time is how and where I am supposed to find unconditional joy that can motivate me to live and endure? What does it mean for me to rejoice in the Lord and how can I practice this?
The Source of Joy in a Season of Suffering
Our circumstances and seasons change. Life on earth is marked by experiencing troubles and suffering. No one is immune to suffering. How can we make sure that we don’t lose our joy in a season of suffering?
If we open the pages of the Bible, we will see a lot of examples of people who have learned to rejoice in the Lord despite their hard circumstances like David, Habakkuk, Apostle Paul – just to name a few. The early Church persevered and turned the world upside down despite persecutions, hardship, and severe trials.
They were able to do this because their joy was not tied to a favorable circumstance but to the Lord – the Source of Joy Himself. To have an unconditional joy, not depending on our circumstances, we need to come every day to the Source and make Him our joy, strength, and hope.
Be sure to pin me for later!To have an unconditional joy, not depending on our circumstances, we need to come every day to the Source and make Him our joy, strength, and hope. #joy #hope #encouragement #bgbg2 Click To Tweet
Two Sure Things to Help Us Rejoice in Suffering
The prophet Habakkuk lived in the dark times of the moral corruption of his people and the imminent threat of the Babylonian invasion. The prophet suffered deeply because of the circumstances in which he lived. He complained and cried in deep anguish to the Lord, asking Him why He does not interfere and allow all these unfair and cruel things to happen. God answered his complaints although not in the way Habakkuk expected.
However, God told him two things, in which we can be sure:
- It may seem that the evil and suffering are prevailing on the earth, but God will put an end to this. He is fully in control over his creation.
- We can be sure and count on God’s unchangeable character of love, holiness, infinite wisdom, and power. The past, the present and the future belong to God. One day the earth will be filled with His glory. (Habakkuk 2:14)
The Prayer of Habakkuk – Finding Joy in Suffering
“Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he enables me to tread on the heights.” (Habakkuk 3:17-19)
We can make this powerful prayer our personal prayer in a season of suffering. Even though I am stricken with sorrow, even though I am afflicted, even though I lost my loved one, even though I lost my job, yet I will rejoice in the Lord. Even though I experience health problems, even though I live in uncertain times with pandemic, yet I will be joyful in my Savior. I will rejoice in His love, in His character, in His promises, in His presence, in His comfort.
Because He gives me grace in my weaknesses and strength to endure and overcome. His mercies are new every day. Because He is my Protector. And no one whose hope is in God will ever be put to shame. “But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you.” (Psalm 5:11)Even though I live in times of uncertainty, pandemic, and suffering, yet I will rejoice in the Lord. #prayer #joy #encouragement Click To Tweet
Choosing Joy in a Season of Suffering
Friend, we have a choice. We can choose joy in a season of suffering. Joy is not just a feeling; it is an attitude of the heart that trusts God about everything. We do this by:
- Pouring our hearts to God. We know that He always hears us, and answers by strengthening, refreshing, and comforting us.
- Choosing the Biblical perspective to see suffering as temporary and light compared to the future glory we will share with Christ. (2 Corinthians 4:17)
- Remembering and focusing on God’s redemptive and transformational purposes in suffering. Trials and shaking are making us survivors, planting us deeper on the Rock, making us unshakable, courageous, strong, and mature.
- Focusing on the ministry God has given us. (Acts 20:24) Everybody who serves the Lord will be sifted and tested.
- Remembering that when we have God, we have everything we need to stand again on our feet.
When we make God our joy, nothing and nobody, no loss, no suffering, and circumstance can take it away from us.When we make God our joy, nothing and nobody, no loss, no suffering, and circumstance can take it away from us. #joy #suffering #ChristianLiving #bgbg2 Click To Tweet
Still Standing and Still Rejoicing
Yes, it is possible to have this joyful confidence amidst suffering because we can trust that God works everything out for good, and nothing we are going through is in vain. Nothing can separate us from His love. (Romans 8:28)
When we are still persevering, still standing, and still rejoicing in the valley of the shadow of death, we give our greatest testimony of faith that overcomes the world.
Do you want to learn more about seasons of suffering and adversity and spiritual maturity? Listen to my interview with Ashley Moore on her podcast Be the Two!
What is your way of finding joy in a season of suffering? If you found this article helpful, please share it on social media. Thanks!When we are still persevering, still standing, and still rejoicing in the valley of the shadow of death, we give our greatest testimony of faith that overcomes the world. #encouragement #perseverence #faith Click To Tweet
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