This month I have part six of my vlog series 20 Steps to Finding Joy in the Trials! I pray it blesses you.
Here is the fourth installment of 20 Steps to Finding Joy in the Trials. Each of these videos is very short but incredibly powerful. Not all of these steps are easy, but they can be made a habit slowly in your own time.
I pray this blesses you! See you in the next video!
I pray this series is a blessing to those of you going through trials. Please feel free to share a bit, ask for prayer, or comment. 😀
Part two is cautionary to save you frustration or further struggles and sadness. I’ve done this too many times and I’m here to save you from making the same mistake I did.
Here’s part two of my vlog series on 20 Steps to Finding the Joy in the Trials. this week and most of the following videos are short but POWERFUL!
So ends the Paul vs Job series here on Life Beyond Surviving, but I didn’t want to let you go without giving you some more “joy” resources. You see, I’ve been writing about this topic for quite some time. I started over on my JoJoisms blogsite. I’ve been transferring my most popular articles over to this site, but I’ve written so much that it’s not easy. It takes quite a bit of time so I’ve been doing them in bunches as these topics arise.
After this series, I thought about how a few of my other articles might be of some value to you. That being said, here are two articles I’ve written, a bit of what they say with links to the full articles here on Life Beyond Surviving.
There are many devotionals on thankfulness that talk about this so I’m not going to spend much time on it since you’ve probably read enough of them to quote them verbatim. I’ll just say that it’s important to continue to pray and read the scriptures even when we are at our wit’s end and even when we are no longer able to envision that God would help us because, the moment we no longer seek God, we begin to drift away from Him. “Trouble and anguish have taken hold on me: yet thy commandments are my delights.” -Psalm 119:143
So how do we begin to feel thankful? Well, last week I prepared our hearts a bit by sharing with you what we should remember about struggles. But that often isn’t enough to bring us through from frustration and despair. After many years upon this earth I have found some things that have helped me to become more thankful and bring me to the point where I can praise God during the storms of my life. By the way…I wrote this as much for me as I did for my readers.
1. Start small and build
Thank Him for whatever blessings you can think of, even…
Click the above link to read the rest of the article.
Sometimes things that friends and family communicate to us can make our struggles more difficult, but there are things we can communicate to ourselves that can help us during struggles. Today I’d like us to consider some things that will help us remember that God is not out to get us when struggles come. God isn’t punishing us and that there is a reason and maybe even a blessing around the corner.
Here’s what we need to remember during hard times:
1. Even if we cannot feel Him, God is still with us
We can count on Him to help and support us through the difficult times. Often we feel abandoned by God when tough times come. It’s only natural that we may not feel close to God when we are struggling, but if we can remind ourselves that God has not moved away from us, we might feel Him near. It’s always harder to find something when we aren’t looking.
It’s almost like when you have a close relative who lives far away. You can’t reach out and touch them or hug them, but you can still talk to them on the phone, but only if we dial the phone.
2. This struggle may prepare us for an incredible opportunity
We may need to learn something from this horrible experience…
Click the above link to read the rest of the article.
I pray the Paul vs Job series has blessed you and your family and that these additional resources give you more to help you begin to work toward having more joy in your life despite the trails.
This is the last part in my series Paul vs Job. Just to recap, in this series, I’ve shared about the reason I began looking into this topic of Paul vs Job–-about how I could never find a devotional that went beyond the fact that we should be joyous and have faith and that we’d be healed in Heaven. I also shared about the differences between Job and Paul. I shared the lessons we can learn from Job and the lessons we can learn from Paul. I talked about how there are differences between struggling through short term trials and ones that are long term. Next I talked about what the Bible says about suffering and what the Bible says about joy in suffering. Then, I talked about the needs of the suffering and things I feel it’s important to keep in mind.
I’ve known for years that the Bible, and Paul specifically, tells us to have joy even in the midst of trials, but whenever I’d look for how to do that, all devotionals and articles came up short. They always told me what to do, but never HOW I could do that. There were times when I was in so much physical pain or emotional turmoil that I couldn’t even envision how that could be accomplished. And there were times when I have been easily able to move to joy from fear and pain because of all I’d seen in my life and all God had done for me. Yet, I still didn’t understand how Paul was able to have the joy he apparently had even in the midst of pain, enormous struggle, and persecution.
Frankly, I’d searched so long and so hard, I never thought I’d understand. I spoke to pastors and faith-filled friends who all told me to write about this, but I never felt qualified to do so…until recently. A friend told me to share what I HAD discovered even if it didn’t lead to how Paul was able to have such joy. So I embarked on this series. While, I prayed it would be a blessing to those in pain, struggling with trials of various kinds, I fully expected to come to this point in the series and tell you I had no idea how Paul was able to do this.
Then a miracle happened. I was reading over some articles and devotionals preparing for this blog post when it hit me that there wasn’t a single thing Paul did that helped him to feel joy. It wasn’t what he did; it was who he was. I believe there are nine things Paul was, or tried hard to be, that allowed him to live with joy:
1) An expectation and an acceptance that life wasn’t going to be easy.
Back in the olden days, I think there was an expectation and an acceptance that life was not a peaceful progression of years. With the advancement of medical science and technology, we have now come to expect that these things will make our lives easier. But more than this, we’ve come to the point where we do not accept life’s little struggles–let alone the big ones. As a result, it’s harder for people to deal with those struggles when they arise. The Bible tells us we will face trials of various kinds. Paul knew this. We should too.
2) A determination, a commitment, and a resilience.
Paul felt a strong calling on his life from the Lord to do certain things. That gives a person a determination and a commitment to that end. Determination and commitment leads to a resilience. We need to adopt those characteristics in our own lives to get us through the rough patches. Even if you look at this in a secular situation, have you ever heard of someone who accomplished great things in their lives, had great success, without having to struggle? No, you didn’t.
3) A constant reminder of how much Christ endured for us.
Paul was able to endure, I feel, because he was always aware of how much more Christ had endured for us. Whatever we have gone through, though devastating, was nothing compared to all Christ had lived through for our sake. I know that He was more than man and we are merely mortal, but having this in mind can help us to move past many things.
4) An understanding that while he may be in chains, his ministry was not.
Paul understood that while he had physical limitations of health or imprisonment, his ministry wasn’t bound. He was able to lead others to Christ through others, through his letters to the churches, etc. My ministry is not reliant upon my physical prowess (thankfully!) or my physical location (thanks to the internet). While my body may be limited, my ministry is not if I only think a bit outside the box. What about yours?
5) A heart to find the blessings due to his pain.
Paul’s heart was for others and he saw the blessings in those he discipled. He saw the blessings that God helped him to accomplish. He saw the beauty in God’s creations. We can do the same. If we look for the blessings in spite of (and sometimes BECAUSE of) our pain, we will have an easier time moving forward past the hardships.
6) A satisfaction with who he was if not how he was.
I think Paul was never satisfied with where he was or what he’d been able to do, but he was satisfied with who he was in Christ. We may not be satisfied with where we are (in struggle/chronic illness), but we may be satisfied with who we are in Christ because we are His and we are doing our best to fulfill our missions here on earth. That right there goes a long way to keeping us on track and fulfilled which makes trials less likely to derail our spirit.
7) A thankful heart for what he had been able to accomplish.
Paul had a thankful heart for all God did for him, a sinner, and for what he was able to accomplish in Christ. He was humble enough to know it was God’s victories and that, I think, made him thankful to be part of something bigger and more important than himself. Thankfulness makes us more positive about our future. Thankfulness can help us see outside ourselves and current difficulties toward something larger and more important for us to accomplish. Even if you are bedridden, there are ways the Lord can use you! What do you think they are? How can you be thankful to God for things in your life?
8) A flexibility to bypass roadblocks.
Part of number four up there requires flexibility. When life put up roadblocks for Paul, he found ways around them in order to further his ministry. Life has thrown roadblocks in your way too. How can you get around them? I know someone who is in a lot of pain and takes to her bed often for days, but she has a ministry online that gives her purpose. Instead of thinking she can’t be of any use, she found a way around her roadblocks to fulfill her ministry. How can you?
9) A heart to seek God for strength and direction.
Paul had a heart to seek after God. He found strength in Him and he asked for direction. We can too. We can ask God to reveal our purpose, to give us strength, to direct our steps, to fulfill our calling, to get through our struggles, and to find our joy! Will you?
I wish I could say I could wave a magic wand or you could take a pill and just suddenly experience joy amidst the difficult and sometimes horrific trials. There is no easy way to find joy. Maybe that’s the point. Maybe we need to struggle in order to create something beautiful in this life. Maybe it’s the struggle that defines us and pushes us mere humans to do something incredible with God’s help. Maybe the only real peace we will find is on the other side, in heaven…
I may not have all the answers to how Paul was able to find the joy in the midst of such trial. I may know nothing about what it will mean for you, but I do pray this post has been a starting point, food for thought, that will lead you to become the person you need to be in order to find your joy.
When I first began looking for how to have joy in the midst of struggles, I found lots of references to joy in suffering though I didn’t find exactly how we were to do that. I felt at this point in the series, I’d share some of what I found. I think it helps us to know that others found joy in the midst of suffering, struggles, and trials. And it helps to read the words that share that joy in the scriptures.
I found a reference that said there are 132 references to rejoicing in the Bible, but I found a few that were most relevant to us here. So this is just a collection of scriptures that share about joy in the midst of trials:
“And not only this, but we glory in afflictions also, knowing that afflictions work out patience,” -Romans 5:3
“rejoicing in hope, patient in affliction, steadfastly continuing in prayer,” -Romans 12:12
“Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for your reward in Heaven is great. For so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” -Matthew 5:12
“Rejoice in that day and leap for joy. For behold, your reward is great in Heaven. For so their fathers did according to these things to the prophets.” -Luke 6:23
“Then indeed they departed from the presence of the sanhedrin, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to be shamed for His name.” -Acts 5:41
“as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing all things.” -2 Corinthians 6:10
“who now rejoice in my sufferings on your behalf, and I fill up the things lacking of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh, on behalf of His body, which is the church;” -Colossians 1:24
“For you both sympathized with my bonds and took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that you have in Heaven a better and an enduring substance.” -Hebrews 10:34