Throughout the Bible, there are many verses that speak of having joy. Philippians 4:4 states, “Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say rejoice. This verse does not tell us to only be joyful in the good times but to be joyful always, no matter what comes our way. What would it be like to have unhindered, abundant joy in the midst of all circumstances? The beauty of the joy God longs to give is that it’s not fleeting or temporary. It is sustaining, strong and true, but being joyful is not always easy. Thankfully we have Scripture that leads, guides, and helps us to find the joy of Christ each and every day in situation we may face. Paul is a great example of this. He experienced many hardships and sufferings while following Jesus and Scripture tells us that he dealt with a “thorn in the flesh,” but through it all he remained joyful. Paul tells the secret to this joy and contentment in a letter he wrote to the church of Philippi.
Philippians 4:11-13 states, “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content in whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether fed or hungry, whether in plenty or in want. I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.” Suffering is a major way in which God produces maturity and perseverance in us.
This reminds us that no matter what is going on around us, we can still have joy. It’s easy to think that a joyful life is defined by a series of good moments and fulfilled desires. However, life is really defined by the work Jesus is doing in us, and how He allows the ‘not so good’ moments to mature us. The joy that comes in the morning after a long weary night is one of the best gifts Jesus offers us. In the darkest of days when joy seems impossible all we have to do is ask, and the Lord will meet us there. I believe He longs to fill us with joy in the midst of any trial or pain. He longs to heal and transform our hearts into greater reflections of God’s goodness.
James 1:2-4 states, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
If we will allow the Lord to redeem the trials and testing we endure in this life, we will begin to bear the fruit of joy in the midst of any circumstance. Unshakable joy is our portion. The heart of our Father is to make us a people marked by the joy of heaven. God cares deeply about the concerns of this world. He weeps over the lost. He becomes angry over the works of the enemy. He is deeply saddened when we choose the fleeting ways of the world over His fulfilling and perfect plans. But in the midst of all of that, He is joyfully expectant for the age that is to come. He sees the depravity and wounds and celebrates that one day soon it will all be redeemed. May our relationship with Him deepen today and each day, and yield a joy so real and strong that no trial or tribulation could come against it.
- Meditate on the importance and availability of joy to you through Scripture and songs of worship.
- What are ways we can best give and receive this gift of joy as believers?
- Why do you think trials refine us so well?