How do we find joy in hard seasons? In times of death, or you lost your job? Or in times when nothing is going right for you? You fill in the blanks. What is your reason for struggling to find joy?
Do we have to lose our joy in the difficult times?
I do not think so!
I personally am just now coming out of a very difficult and long season of hard. Life has not played fair with me. At times I have felt like I was walking in quicksand. It took all my effort to decide to press on. I felt physically drained as a result of the pressing in of life. So, where did I go for my comfort and to retain my joy? Remember joy and happiness are not the same thing. Happiness comes from external places, joy is found deep inside, in our relationship with Jesus Christ.
Really I was not happy about the unfairness and hardness of life, but my joy in my Savior remained.
I found myself thinking of these and other scriptures along the way.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
I can say many prayers went up, for help, guidance, patience, endurance and just everyday things. I even said out loud to myself as an encouragement; I will give thanks even in this hard place.
And while walking through my desert, I also gained a few extra pounds, (truth.) I am an emotional eater, so I find food to be my friend in hard times, not really good thing, but true. I guess you could say this verse below was what I was doing. LOL
Ecclesiastes 2:24 “There is nothihng better for a person than that he shouold eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God.”
But mostly, I kept going forward. I prayed, I went to church, and worshipped the One who died for me. I shed a few tears, laughed with friends, and allowed the Lord to refill my empty tanks. I remembered that Jesus was interceding for me always. I was not walking through this hard time alone, my Lord was with me, comforting me when it seemed too much, and encouraging me in tangible ways through his word, and friends and family.
Ecclesiastes 7:14 “In the day of prosperity be joyful, and in the day of adversity consider: God has made the one as well as the other, so that man may not find anythig that will be after him.”
God brings us to the hard places of life. Nothing touches our lives unless God himself allows it. And when it comes we need to keep pressing into Him. We need to surrender all our frustration and hurt and move closer to Him. When we do we will find ourselves being renewed. We will feel the joy rising up inside of us. God has promised us that He is faithful, He will never leave us or forsake us, (Deuteronomy 31:6.)
When you walk through difficult times it does not mean you are being punished, but it does mean it is a chance to grow in your walk with the Lord, and to stretch your faith.
My joy is found in Jesus. My joy starts when I focus my attention on Jesus and all that He has done for me. My joy comes in knowing that I am His and He is mine. My joy comes in remembering that this too shall pass. All the days of my life He has brought me through many dangers, toils, and snares. All the days of my life He has been with me, praying for me, faithful to the end.
So, the better question is; Why not joy in the hard seasons?
We may not feel happy, but when we focus our hearts and minds on Jesus Christ, joy is found. Your joy may not be bubbling over, but it is there. A calm assurance that He will see us through. Think of the hardest day of your life, if you are reading this you are still here, moving forward. Think of how He carried you and cared for you during it. Do you feel the heartbeat of joy rising up?
I also like to think about His return. Will I be alive, and caught up, or will my eyes close in eternal sleep, and I will be instantly transported to the ONE in whom I have placed my trust? I don’t know, but I do know that this life with all the hard is but a vapor, nothing here lasts forever.
My hard for now is ending. And another will come eventually. Although I was not always happy about it, I was, and I am always joyful. Thanking God for all the times He has seen me through, and how he has held me close all this time.
I hope you will let joy rise in your soul…through him we are already victorious.