On September 20, 2006, I gave my life to Christ. Up until that moment I was looking for joy in all the wrong places. As you can imagine, nothing and no one was able to provide me with lasting joy. I often felt empty despite an outward appearance of health, wealth and success. Whether you grew up in the church or came to know Christ as an adult like I did I'm convinced of one thing: we all share in the same human experience.
It could be said that we all find ourselves in one of three places. 1) You are in the middle of a storm. 2) You are justing coming out of a storm 3) You're heading into a storm. No matter where you are, God is faithful. Your situation may tempt or test you to doubt God or rob you of the joy that's promised to you but remember this:
No temptation (test) has seized you except that which is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted (tested) beyond what you can bear. But when you are tested, he will provide a way out so that you can stand up under it. 1 Corinthians 10:13
Paul provided three great points:
1) We're all going to be tested.
2) God is faithful.
3) God provides.
Practically speaking I've found that scripture memory has been a valuable tool in preparing me for life's challenges as well as a source of encouragement to others.
I have hidden your word in my heart that i might not sin against you. Psalm 119:11
We'd all do well to remember God's promises and what He has done for us. He gave us salvation. He offers eternal life. He offers joy and peace that passes all understanding. He gives us hope. He provides eternal prospective by instructing us to seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all of these things will be added unto you. (Mathew 6:33) We worry about "these things" instead of putting our faith, hope and love in the Lord.
Now I'll admit that the idea of being joyous in all circumstances is counterintuitive and counter culture. But putting our hope in anything but Him is just counterfeit. I've never been jailed for my faith but I have experienced heartache and wondered where was God in a particular situation. I now know that He makes all things work together for our good. God instructs us through his word to be glad in all circumstance and to consider it pure joy when we face adversity. You may be asking "how could I possibly be joyous? You don't know my situation!" Once again we can claim God's promises that "I can do all things through Him who gives me strength." God is able to accomplish this in and through us through the power of the holy spirit. Through His mighty power at work within us we are able to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.
Don't worry about anything. Instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank Him for all that he has done. Philipians 4:6
Father God great and mighty are you. I confess that I allow fear and doubt fill my find instead of putting my trust in you. Thank you for your promises. Thank you for your word. Thank you for the gift of your son that we may have eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord and savior. Teach us to number our days and to live by the Spirit filled with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control. We ask for these things in Jesus name,