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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Donna B Reidland says
Joy truly is found in a Person. Obedience is important. Thankfulness is important. But when done with the right heart attitude or as you said “posture,” (I liked that word), they are the outworking of being in HIs presence, aren’t they? Thanks for sharing a powerful post. Blessings!
Donna, thank you for stopping by and taking the time to read my post and leave such a kind comment! I agree obedience and thankfulness flow from time spent with God, how could they not, once we have met Him?
Tea With Jennifer says
I love your closing statement Donna which is packed with wisdom that only comes from doing the hard yards with our heavenly Father,
“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.” Amen!
Thank you, my Dear Friend, these lessons are the hard ones, but the ones most precious!
Michele Morin says
Thank you, Donna, for the challenge of a “joy inventory. ” My mind returns to that phrase like a pebble in the show, and obviously, the Spirit is at work.
Michele, isn’t it funny sometimes how the Spirit puts those pebbles in our shoes?! Sometimes we don’t feel up to the challenge, but He knows best what we need!
Lois Flowers says
Aw, Donna … I’m sorry for the new challenges and trials that have tripped you up recently. What a blessing, though, to read how you processed through it and came away with these encouraging thoughts about how to find joy in the middle of trials. This, especially, was so powerful: “Even more important than knowing there is purpose in pain, is knowing the God who allows the pain is good.”
Lois, Dear Friend, amen for “edit” mode in comments, I am now “Donna” once again! I thank you for your kind words, sometimes we do view challenges and trials as “unfortunate”, but I’m learning no matter how difficult, or painful, they are actually “fortunate” for the result of deeper intimacy with Christ and the strengthening of faith that God is indeed good! Warm hugs to you today!
Paula Short says
Amen Donna, Wow, such a resonating post for me. I love your words. The God Who Sees is such a great film. I had a great takeaway from it. Blessings. ❤
Visiting today from Let’s Have Coffee.
Paula, I rejoice that this post resonated with you, I struggled in writing it, and praise God he has used it in many ways so far. I love that film, The God Who Sees, God has been using that in my life tremendously and I had to share! Warm hugs to you!
Paula Short says
Sending warm hugs back! 🌼
Donna, I think we all get off track from our journey now and then. The important thing is that you did an inventory, consulted your heart, and determined where you needed to make a correction. You are so right – God is with us in all of our tribulations.
Thank you, Laurie for your encouragement! I was just saying to my husband the other night, I don’t know how people manage to navigate trials without the Lord.
Lisa notes says
I love how you walk this out in front of us, Donna. Losing our joy can happen in a split second. We all know how to do that. But finding our joy again is where we need these examples like yours. Thanks for spelling out how it works for you. Trusting in God’s goodness and love is what sustains me too!
Lisa, it’s so true, we all know how to lose our joy, but I found myself truly questioning how to find it again! Thank you for encouraging me on my journey!
Amen. He sees us in every place of trial, and He keeps His purposes fixed so firmly for us. He is reminding me of this so much lately too, dear friend. What a blessing to know that HE is speaking His Word to us. Blessings and prayers for you.
Bettie, my dear friend, I always welcome you stopping by. Your words are so filled with love and encouragement, and I know you understand the hard places of life. Thank you for stopping by to encourage me today! Blessings and prayers to you, my dear friend!
Lauren Renee Sparks says
I have experienced each of these with my own trials. Life is hard, but God is good. This highlights that perfectly.
Lauren, thank you for taking the time to read my post! We are so blessed to have a God who redeems all for our good and His glory!