Joy in the Midst of Your Sorrows

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James 1:2-3 “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.”

Before my salvation, if someone had told me that I would be rejoicing during the worst period in my life, I would have dismissed the notion as “impossible.” In my finite mind, I believed that my life was over, and nobody could convince me otherwise. I was facing 15 years in prison, my lawyer was absolutely useless, I was held on a no bond hold, and my face was all over the news, portrayed as a killer who had destroyed a “perfect family.” Where was the joy in this?

What I could not see, was that God had the blueprint for my life, and that something glorious was going to come out of that which I, and everyone else thought was a tragedy! It was not until I had surrendered my life to Jesus did I begin to see light at the end of the tunnel.

The verse says, “Count it all joy.” Why should I be joyful amongst my abysmal circumstances? First, joy is a byproduct of your faith, according to Hebrews 11:1, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen.” So you can’t see with your natural eyes what God is doing in your situation, but you are hoping for it because the bible has promised you victory. If you have faith to believe that His word is going to be fulfilled, you are going to have joy in your heart, knowing that you will overcome regardless of your circumstances. Your joy during your trials, is an indication that your faith is high. Now, this does not mean you are going to be walking around with a grin on your face because you are suffering! Certainly not, there were days during my incarceration that I was fully depressed. But there was a quiet knowing in my spirit that victory was at hand.

Second, when you are joyful, praise emanates from your inner being, praise releases the power of God. In 2nd Chronicles chapter 20, when Jehosophat went into battle against his enemies, he sent a praise team ahead of the army. When they began to sing, the bible says, “The Lord set ambushes against the people of Amon, Moab, and Mount Seir who had come against Judah, and they were defeated”  (2 Chronicles 20:22). A joyful spirit during your trial accelerates your victory. Click To TweetA joyful spirit during your trial accelerates your victory, not because it causes God to work faster, but when your eyes are fixed on Him and not on your circumstances, you no longer focus on time. I was in prison for 5 years, but because I persevered with joy in my heart, it seemed a lot shorter.

Third, joy strengthens you, the above scripture says, “Knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.” It is imperative that you are patient whilst waiting for God to work out your situation. Impatience will cause you to go ahead of the Lord, and lend Him a helping hand which often leads to disastrous consequences. When God promised Abraham a child, after waiting 13 years with no delivery, he listened to the voice of his wife, and impregnated their Egyptian bond servant Hagar, producing Ishmael. Abraham later had Issac, and the two sons became bitter rivals. 

Joy gives you the patience that you need to wait upon the Lord, and this is what is promised to those who follow this instruction, Isaiah 40:31, “And those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up on wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”  

The bible tells us that we are going to experience tribulation, but when we go through the trials of life, we do so from a superior position, knowing that every battle that we are ever going to endure was first won on the cross at Calvary. Therefore, it only makes sense to go through your hardships with joy in your spirit, having full knowledge that there will always be glory waiting behind your mountain. 

May God bless the hearers and the doers of His word. 

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A survivor of the American injustice system, ulcerative colitis and a host of tragic life events. Her strength comes from Christ alone and she has found purpose in suffering. Abigail's life mission is to help others turn their pain into power.