FINDING JOY IN CHALLENGING TIMES

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“This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”Nehemiah 8:10

Are you searching for your joy? Have you found that the joy you once had has washed away with the storms of life? Do you long for that joy to return?

Life can challenge us. Our happiness ebbs and flows with our circumstances. Adversities can overwhelm us. We may feel as if we’re drowning in life’s storms. And the joy we so need is nowhere to be found.

Happiness is an emotion tossed and turned by the winds and waves of circumstance. Joy runs deeper and stronger, unmoved by the storms. What we have or what we experience will never give us joy. Joy is found in Christ. Serenity and joy can be ours in challenging times when we tap into our Source of joy.

True joy rises above the tumultuous events happening around us. Jesus is our Rock. As we stay united with Him, He walks us through the storms of life. We face adversity without succumbing to its deluge. We live the joy of Christ… the quiet, confident assurance of His endless love, His mighty strength and His certain victory in our lives.

“Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!”Philippians 4:4

The apostle Paul found joy in the midst of his trials. How was he able to rise above the storms in his life? During one of his imprisonments for boldly sharing the gospel, Paul wrote a letter of joy to the church in Philippi. He looked beyond his troubles to send his letter of hope and encouragement to these faithful believers.

Despite Paul’s chains and his uncertain future, he exhorted the Philippians to rejoice in the Lord. His joy was based upon Christ’s ever-presence with him. Paul found that the joy within him need not be affected by the circumstances around him. He rested in the truth that God is always working His good even in times of trials and setbacks. This apostle claimed the promise and privilege of God’s joy for his life.

“In Your presence there is fullness of joy.”Psalm 16:11

God promises joy for our lives too. How can we rediscover and reclaim our lost joy?

⇒  Read joy — Spending time in God’s Word may not be our first thought when we’re working through challenging times. Yet the Bible is our handbook for joy and our lifeline to God. It is overflowing with promises and encouragement. God loves to speak to us through His Word… new verses, new wisdom, new revelations. We find new hope to face our day.

⇒  Seek joy — Our joy is never truly lost. So in seeking joy, we will find it. As we step out in nature, we find joy in the beauty of God’s creation. As we listen to Christian music, we experience joy in praising Him. As we spend time with loved ones and friends… sharing, caring, laughing… we discover renewed joy. For God blesses our lives to bring us joy.

⇒  Remember joy — Blessings and joy have filled our lives. In challenging times, we tend to forget God’s hand of abundance and provision. Recalling our past joys and blessings helps us see beyond our present circumstances. Remembering all that we are currently thankful for and all that brings us joy allows us to see God’s goodness and His ever-presence with us.

⇒  Encounter joy — Prayer is a time to talk with God… to share all that concerns us with the One who truly understands. God knows all that we are facing. He discerns our anxious thoughts… our distressing fears… our loss of sleep. Our Heavenly Father listens with compassion when a compassionate ear is sometimes difficult to find.

In prayer, we talk to our Source of joy. We turn everything over to Him. We trust all to the Almighty One. In Him we find new strength, new direction, new inspiration to face our challenges. We look to Him for our lost joy for He is an unending fount of joy and blessings.

“This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”Psalm 118:24

Joy resides in the deep, abiding presence of Christ. Despite all that may come against us… trials… setbacks… storms of life… Christ still reigns victorious. We are His and His Spirit dwells within us. Nothing can ever change that. We find joy in His eternal presence. His joy is the stability of our lives.

In Christ we rediscover our lost joy. Rejoice in Him. Treasure His joy. Let His love and joy reign in your hearts. For He is the One who will see us through our challenging times. In Him we can face whatever life may bring our way with a joyful spirit.