Joy in the Suffering

Who in their right mind would say that there is joy in the suffering? Only someone who is lying or in denial? The Apostle Paul, (whose life changing encounter with Jesus reads more like a horror show….. beaten, ship-wrecked, etc) wrote about joy in the suffering and he was not lying and was not in denial. So how could He say this? He tapped into The Source of all joy. He encountered Jesus on the road to Damascus, and his life story changed from one of being prestigious, educated, persecutor of Christians, to one of knowing that in the suffering, we get to experience a deep well of joy. It is NOT natural, but supernatural.

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

But he said to me, my grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.  (2 Corinthians 12:9)

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. (Philippians 4)

….But we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. (Romans 5:1-5)

Tucked into these powerful passages is the secret to finding joy in suffering. God meets us in that dark place with His love, His hope, and his revelation that He is revealing His glory to us. Paul did not have an easy life. He suffered, yet he tapped into the source of His joy; the One He met on the road to Damascus.

Are any of you going through suffering? I hear stories every day that break my heart. But Jesus Christ is the same yesterday (to Paul) today (for you) and tomorrow and is allowing your spiritual roots to go deep in HIm. He is helping you find in Him alone the source of true joy. Happiness is fleeting coming from the root word “hap” by chance. Joy comes from a relationship with the One who loves you more than anything; the One who rejoices over you;  the One who holds you in His grip.

Sometimes, we are so depleted that we cannot see which end is up. That’s when we offer Jesus our Hallelujah, It may be all we can eek out. But scripture tells us that God inhabits our praises. If you cannot praise Him today that’s ok. Listen to this song and let it sink into your heart.

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Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.

Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.