A journey involving a quest for joy is not without trial. For what is authentic joy but that which is refined by fire? Though beginning my One Word 2021 journey with JOY, filled with anticipation, I likewise maintained a cautious outlook. Experience teaches me joy exists outside of circumstances, joy walks with grief and joy shines brightest in the fire. Join me in my One Word 2021 update as I share secrets to finding joy in the midst of trials.
Facing new challenges and trials tripped me up recently, and precipitated a time of reflection. Naturally, any time we encounter unexpected events, we “lose our balance” spiritually. When we lose our spiritual equilibrium, we begin focusing more on the challenge or trial. This is exactly what happened to me recently, only I remained unaware until I did a joy inventory. Discovering no real joy encounters for a few days, I began rehearsing the flow of recent days.
in the midst of trials
I was not oblivious to the fact I once again stood in a hard place, however, I was blind to my posture while there. I allowed a common misconception about joy derail God’s clear commission at the start of my joy journey. Taking a quick trip back for a refresher, which you can read HERE, I rapidly determined where I veered off course.
When facing unexpected trials, it is natural to veer off course initially. At times, I notice this quickly and correct course, re-focus and seek God’s strength and counsel. Other times, I fail noticing I lost my way. Another reaction I experience when facing unexpected trials resembles a wild roller coaster ride. I know exactly what is happening, but feel powerless and instead I hold on, hoping it will soon end. Upon reflection I believe I encountered both of these reactions.
Give thanks in all circumstances?
Further complicating my confusion, I attempted to badger my suffering attitude by glibly reminding myself to “Give thanks in all circumstances” (1 Thessalonians 5:18), which felt especially heavy and frankly impossible. Knowing gratitude ignites joy, I mistakenly imposed a spiritual principle on an already hard situation, resulting in a further loss of joy.
Losing my perspective in the midst of my trials not only cost me joy, but it also caused me to fall into the devil’s trap of questioning God. Rather than appropriately viewing the principle in 1 Thessalonians 5:18, through eyes focused on God and His goodness, I instead viewed it through my flawed perspective of questioning God’s good purpose in my trials. Resulting in my inability to give thanks because I doubted God and His goodness.
joy in the secret place of the most high
Correcting my perspective was a crucial piece for me to recognize the secrets to finding joy in the midst of trials. Revisiting my ground rules in this post, was the best place to start.
I can experience “JOY” while sincerely walking in God’s ways, keeping His Law and seeking Him with my whole heart. In His Presence dwells fullness of “JOY”, and that Presence is with me right here, right now and always. I have access to true “JOY” anytime I rest in His Presence.
I was not resting in God’s Presence, nor seeking Him with my whole heart. I even lost my perspective on my spiritual identity in Christ, living as an orphan rather than a daughter of the King of Kings. I stumbled across this phenomenal reading of Ephesians 2, which blessed me with a renewed vision and assurance, driving me into the Secret Place of the Most High God.
the secret of joy: the god who sees
Perhaps the greatest thief of joy is believing you suffer alone: that God “sends” the trial and stands somewhere outside until it’s over. Another lie from the enemy of your soul. As I sought the Lord’s face, He reminded me He is El Roi, the “God who sees“. He never left me, I was seen, protected, and held. My eyes saw only the harsh, hard place, but right there in the midst of my trial was El Roi.
Certainly one of the secrets to finding joy in the midst of trials is knowing God sees you, your struggle and He will never leave you. When my focus shifted from the Lover of my soul to my trial, I lost the sense of His Presence. When I lost the sense of His Presence, I lost the fullness of joy that abides there.
secrets to finding joy in the midst of trials
God gently walked with me, and in His immeasurable kindness, enabled me to recover my spiritual sight. He rescued me from the lies that derailed me, reminded me His Presence was with me always, even in trials, and pulled me into the fullness of joy I missed by focusing on the trial.
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.”James 1:1-3
Considering trials as joy knowing they have a purpose is another secret to finding joy in the midst of trials. But one thing I learned from my recent walk in the hard places, is joy also comes through trusting in God’s ultimate goodness and love for me. Even more important than knowing there is purpose in pain, is knowing the God who allows the pain is good. Knowing this God sees me, and loves me with an everlasting love is pure joy.
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