To be joyful in trials, we need to remember a few things. Jesus said in John 16.33 that we will have tribulation. Whoever thought that being a Christian meant life would be a bed of roses has no doubt learned the hard way that this isn’t true. The up-side is that Jesus assures us that He has overcome the world.
He also said in
Matthew 24:9 Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name (NASB).
This doesn’t sound very comforting, does it. But Jesus was referring to the end times when nations will rise against nation and mankind will betray each other. What we do learn from this verse is that we will not escape tribulation.
As in other studies I have published, I like to use the King James Version, unless otherwise noted, so if you have your own favourite version, please use it to read along with us.
But let’s back up a bit. In Psalms, we often read of “trouble”, being a “stronghold”, being “rescued”, and being “delivered.” Psalm 9.9; 34.17; 50.15. God is always faithful.
Psalm 138.7, Though I walk in the midst of trouble, thou wilt revive me: thou shalt stretch forth thine hand against the wrath of mine enemies, and thy right hand shall save me.
God is always faithful.
So, we know from the Psalms that God is with us and will deliver us but where does “joy” come in?
Psalm 31.7 I will be glad and rejoice in thy mercy: for thou hast considered my trouble; thou hast known my soul in adversities.
This means praise Him.
Psalm 59.16 But I will sing of thy power; yea, I will sing aloud of thy mercy in the morning: for thou hast been my defense and refuge in the day of my trouble.
This means praise Him.
Psalm 119.143 Trouble and anguish have come upon me, yet Your commandments are my delight.
This means praise Him.
These verses teach us of conscious decision, an act of will. “I will …” It’s a choice we make.
Joy is mentioned second in the list of the fruit of the Spirit. Joy, deep abiding joy, is something that cannot be taken away, John 16.22, Therefore you too have grief now; but I will see you again, and your heart will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you (NASB). It is present in good times and in bad times. Paul was in prison several times and went through many tribulations and yet he could say “rejoice”, “rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice” and “rejoice evermore”, Philippians 3.1; 4.4; and 1 Thessalonians 5.16. Peter wrote “In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials” in 1 Peter 1.6 (NASB).
Biblical joy not only resides deep within us but it also helps us as we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God, Romans 5.2, as it leads to being able to glory in tribulations, knowing that it leads to patience, experience and hope because the love of God is in us, Romans 5.3-5.
Biblical joy is not the same as “happiness” which comes and goes depending on circumstances. When we are walking as led by the power of the Holy Spirit, we are walking with Biblical joy. As mentioned already that Paul was imprisoned several times and endured many afflictions and tribulations, yet he walked in a sense of deep abiding joy.
In the midst of trials, troubles and tribulations, pray as Paul prayed in Colossians 1.9-12. Pray for strength, pray to walk worthy and be fruitful in all you do and be thankful that you have an inheritance with the saints.
Be devoted to prayer for God hears and answers. As the trial continues and increases in severity, increase the fervency of your prayers.
Don’t carry this burden alone. Lean on your church family as we are to carry one anothers burdens. We are members of the body of Christ and therefore members of each other. When one hurts, we all hurt, so share your burden with your church family.
Some final thoughts:
James 1.2-4 Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (NASB)
Romans 12.12 rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer. (NASB)
James 1.12 Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. (NASB)
Are you going through a trial or troubled time? Are you able to remain strong and steady in your faith? Do you need help with the ‘joy’ part? As always, I invite your comments and thoughts.
Related Post: Living Out James 1:2