The joy we seek can be found in God.
By Lesli White
There are many verses in Scripture that refer to how God is good to us, especially troubled times. Philippians 4:19 says, “My God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” God never gives us what He knows would harm us. His desire is for us to live. God distinguishes between our wants and our needs, and He is concerned with every part of our being. God provides for us beyond anything we can ask or imagine. He uses the tough times to not only shape but also transform our lives. We can trust His guidance, goodness, and intention to do more for us than we could ever do. There are times when we may doubt His power, but God can see us through all circumstances. Here are six ways to hold onto joy in troubled times.
God is Preparing Us For a Joyful Future
We should see the challenges and trials we face as God’s perfect way of preparing us for a brighter future. When you are going troubled times, God often puts someone in your path to assist you through your trial period by lending you emotional support. Often, these are friends, family, and loved ones, but sometimes God will even place strangers in your life to bring you through tough circumstances. If you close yourself off from the world, it may be hard for you to see that God is putting someone in front of you to help you and working through that person to get you through the situation you’re facing. However, when you open yourself up, this person can guide you out of the pit so that you can experience joy.
This is Only a Trial Period
Going through troubled times can be frustrating. Life can feel unpredictable and out of control during these periods. During this trial period, God can inspire some great ideas to turn your life around. For example, if you are unemployed and stressed, God may inspire you to think of new and creative ways to produce additional income, while also channeling your talents. You can begin by making a list of services needed by people around you and find a way to make yourself useful in those areas. This may be a test by God to humble you, while also helping you to grow. Trusting in God and having a positive mindset will help you think outside of the box and transform your life.
Turn to Scripture
If you happen to be struggling through hard times today, Scripture is an excellent healing place. The words you read can be a great blessing through difficult times. We can find incredible joy when we trust in God’s Word. Scripture can lead us to exactly where we need to be, even during our darkest trials. Sometimes, you can run through Scripture, stop on a passage, and discover that God is speaking through those words. Other times, you can listen to the readings or the pastor’s message on Sunday and hear God speaking to you through those verses. No matter what circumstance you are facing, you can always rest in the fact that God will always be faithful.
Remember the Presence of the Holy Spirit
God’s Spirit is present in all creation and sent out to bring about God’s new creation. First and foremost, the Spirit is God’s presence. You have felt the quiet confirmation in your heart and mind that something was real, and you knew that it was inspiration from God. For some, it may have come during a talk, lesson, or hymn in church. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth. You feel peace, hope, and joy when He speaks to your heart and mind that something is true. When you allow the Holy Spirit to work through you, darkness can be dispelled, and the desire to do right and transform your thinking grows. When we’re going through troubled times, the key for each of us is to accept and hold the gift God has promised us.
Listen to Words of Encouragement
Sometimes we wake up in the morning, and before our feet even hit the floor, we know the day is careening downhill fast. Life hits us with disappointments, challenges, and heartache. Sometimes, there is no apparent reason – our mood shifts from light-hearted to heavy. In these moments, it feels like joy is absent. When you are going through troubled times, sometimes just hearing encouragement can lift your spirits. It would help if you had some momentum to reframe your thoughts. Often, God puts a person in your path who will say something that catches your heart and makes you feel better about what you are going through. Other times, we will run across words that show up to brighten our day. These are little reminders from God that we are His beautiful children and that He loves us.
Listen to Music
How often have you turned on the radio or a playlist, and a song speaks to you? The song playing right at this moment is not accidental. God’s timing is perfect, and He shows us so much grace and love while we walk through calamity. God will play certain songs at the right time, so you know that He is present and that things will be ok. These moments are wholly unexpected but can brighten our spirits when we are feeling particularly down. Going through hard times can be extremely stressful and seem never-ending, but God works in mysterious ways and provides the spiritual gift of music to some to help people through some of their darkest trials. Music can pull you out of the pit during troubled times.
Psalm 46:1-3 says, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth give away and the mountains fall in the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.” God never says He will provide for your wants, but He clarifies that He will provide for His children’s needs. This is one of the many reasons we can trust God to be there for us, not only when times are good, but also when times are rough. God is faithful, and He knows our every need. God will provide, even in difficult times. The days may be dark now, but God is preparing us for something greater.Lesli White is a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth with a Bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications and a concentration in print and online journalism. In college, she took a number of religious studies courses and harnessed her talent for storytelling. White has a rich faith background. Her father, a Lutheran pastor and life coach was a big influence in her faith life, helping her to see the value of sharing the message of Christ with others. She has served in the church from an early age. Some of these roles include assisting ministry, mutual ministry, worship and music ministry and church council.