How do we find joy, hold it, and let it remain in our hearts when there’s lingering illness, pain and suffering? When there are only sorrow, disappointments and confusion? It is hard, I tell you, but it is possible. With God, it is ALWAYS possible. My friend, I know what I’m talking about, because I’ve traveled these dark and rough roads. I know the terrain. And if in your life right now, you find yourself struggling to find JOY, let me encourage you with these words.
We’ll start with the basic truth, the truth that will never fade.
NEVER LET GO OF HOPE
When hope is gone, everything else will follow. The fountain of joy draws deep from the well of hope. When hope dries up, joy flattens out. One of the anchors of joy is hope. As long as hope is held close in our hearts and souls, there will always be an opening where joy will find its way to us.
Our hope is in Christ: in His Gospel, in His Word. Our hope of healing, deliverance, salvation, our hope of eternal life – it’s all in Jesus. As long as we have hope, we can still rejoice, for our God is a God of hope.
REJOICING in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer. (Rom. 12:12, emphasis added)
Now the God of hope fill you with ALL JOY and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost. (Rom. 15:13, emphasis added)
TRUST IN THE LORD WITH ALL YOUR HEART AND FEAR NOT
One sure thing that snuffs out our joy is fear. As long as fear resides in our hearts, joy will remain elusive. We fear because we don’t trust God. We don’t trust God because we don’t REALLY BELIEVE that He will help us and raise us up. If we fully trust in God, that is, if we put our very lives into His hands, WITHOUT DOUBTS, fear will flee and peace will flood our whole being. When our hearts and minds settle in sweet peace, joy will come creeping in, soaking us with its warmth from the inside out. So, another anchor of joy is peace. We obtain peace by trusting in God completely.
Believe in God and in His power, in His love and mercy, and in His willingness to help us, to heal us, and to raise us up. Jesus Himself said,“I WILL” (Mark 1:41, Mat. 8:3, Luke 5:13), being moved with compassion. Yes, He will heal us. Yes, He will have mercy on us and will hear us and will deliver us!
These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that YOUR JOY MIGHT BE FULL. (John 15:11, emphasis added)
DON’T HOLD ANY GRUDGES (DEEP-SEATED RESENTMENT OR ILL WILL) IN YOUR HEART
If our hearts are full of these, there will be no room for joy. Let go of all these negative and unprofitable things in your life. If there is somebody that you need to forgive, FORGIVE, and don’t delay. Forgiveness will heal us – our bodies, our hearts, and our souls.
Are you angry at God for your situation, your suffering? Stop blaming Him. Make your heart right with Him, humble yourself before the Lord and beg for His mercy. For He’s abundant in mercy.
DO YOUR BEST TO STAY IN THE SIDE OF LOVE IN ANY SITUATION
When we walk in love, breathe love, give love – joy comes easy. If we live in GENUINE LOVE, joy washes over us. We are drenched in joy! Why? Because love never fails! Joy is the direct effect of love. Pray always that God will INCREASE YOUR LOVE.
This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. (John 15:12)
If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, YE SHALL ASK WHAT YE WILL, and IT SHALL BE DONE UNTO YOU. (John 15:7, emphasis added)
DO NOT ENVY, DO NOT COMPLAIN, BUT GIVE THANKS ALWAYS
I know, I know, that in suffering, the hardest thing to do is to not envy, not complain, and give thanks. But complaining WILL NOT profit us. It will offend God and it will get us NOWHERE with Him (Please read my post “God of Mercy and Grace”). It will only make us more miserable!
And envy? It’s a little demon that, I admit, is hard to extinguish. When we see others who are healthy and strong and going about their business, and traveling… envy becomes more difficult to banish. But, envy is sin. When we envy, it means we are not contented of and grateful for what the Lord has blessed us with. Because even though there’s suffering and sorrow, there are still the blessings of God in our lives, if we only focus our eyes and hearts on them.
If we forsake complaining and envying, and be determined to live in constant thanksgiving, joy will trickle down on us, slowly and surely, until it will be a part of our daily lives. To live in daily thanksgiving is to live in daily joy! Complaining drives away God’s blessings, but THANKSGIVING HONORS HIM AND USHERS IN MORE BLESSINGS.
Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore WILL I DELIVER HIM…
He shall call upon me, and I WILL ANSWER HIM: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him.
WITH LONG LIFE WILL I SATISFY HIM, and shew him my salvation. (Psalm 91:14,15,16, emphasis added).
Photo: My baby Timothy laughing out loud.
(By God’s grace, in next post, we will continue our discussion of joy in “Fuller Joy”).