Suffering for Joy

“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” – Romans 8:18

This time in our lives, the world that we live in… these things are seeking to drag us down. Especially now, we’re dealing with new kinds of personal struggles and world difficulties, etc…. Let God’s word remind you that all things happen for a purpose, and that God has things in mind far above what we can conceive. 

“As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.” – Genesis 50:20

“I form light and create darkness; I make well-being and create calamity; I am the LORD, who does all these things.” – Isaiah 45:7

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” – Isaiah 55:8-9

(cf. also Job 38-42, Jas 1:2-4,12-13, Jer 5:22)

God’s ways are way above ours. We find ourselves unable to grasp his ways, so we limit them so we can understand. We endanger ourselves when we put God in a box. When we limit God, we’ve actually established a sense of our dominion over Him.

“They do not say in their hearts, ‘Let us fear the LORD our God, who gives the rain in its season, the autumn rain and the spring rain, and keeps for us the weeks appointed for the harvest.’” – Jeremiah 5:24

A healthy fear and reverence of our God is the first step to knowing Him and understanding His ways, without boxing Him in (cf. Prov 1:7). How else can we know Him? We can walk in relationship with Him. We need to put off our old ways, stay in His word and in prayer, and commit to Him like there’s no tomorrow (cf. Jas 1:21, Acts 2:42). This is the beginning of your journey to Joy. 

Philippians 4:4-8 outlines a beautiful way to continue to find His joy and peace. Did you know…

…that emotions are a choice and you can choose to rejoice (v. 4)? 

…that our kindness and gentleness with others benefits our relationship with Him (v. 5, cf. also Gen 2:18)?

…that we can hand our anxiety—probably the thing that steals our joy the most—to Him and trust Him (v. 6, cf. also Prov 3:5-6, Isa 53:6a)?

…that God gives us peace that safeguards our hearts that have just received the spirit of rejoicing, gentleness, and calmness in trial so we never lose it again, if we remain close (v. 7)?

…that when we focus on the things above, God will protect these attributes; that our lives should constantly be focused on God and His goodness (v.8, cf. also Mic 6:8, Jas 1:17)?

In this time of calamity, seek God (cf. 1 Chr 16:11, Prov 8:17, Matt 6:33, Heb 11:6). Know that Jesus is with you and will never leave or forsake you (cf. Deut 31:8, Jos 1:9, Isa 41:10, Heb 13:8). Seek Him. Love Him. Rest in His presence (cf. Ps 17:8).

This is a message you’ve likely heard a lot recently. And, because you’ve heard it a lot, you’re likely not to do anything with it. I implore you to dig deeper. Grab a study bible and look up any verses or cf. verses I add. Look at the footnotes. Look at the cross references. Pray. Listen to worship songs about this topic (I’ll add a few of my suggestions at the end). Embody this message and believe. Let it change you. 

Songs to hear:

Joy by for King and Country

Before the Morning by Josh Wilson

Beautiful Things by Gungor

Praise Before My Breakthrough by the Torwalts

Trading My Sorrows by Darnell Evans 

We Will Run by Gungor

Crumble to Pieces by Phil Wickham

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