Thursday, March 21, 2013

Joy Found in Christ

As I’ve been thinking about joy this week, I’ve realized there is a big difference between God getting me through hard times, and walking with God through those hard times.

The first is a promise from God, the second means that with the promise comes joy, even in the difficult times.

Let me back up for a moment.

I’ve always believed in God. I have prayed to Him my whole life, and at times, I’ve even begged Him for help.

But I didn’t know Him.

I didn’t know Him as my God who wanted to spend time with me, and I certainly didn’t know how to spend time with Him. I went to God when I needed His help, but I didn’t spend time with Him—through the good and the bad times. There is a difference.

I have no doubt God got my family through the rough times all those years ago. Without Him, life would have turned out much differently. I just don’t remember hearing from God when I was young. I’m not saying He didn’t speak to me or try to get my attention. But I didn’t know what to listen for or how to hear Him.

Fast forward to the present.

God has walked with me through many trials. I’ve felt His presence and heard His voice. And during the times God choses to remain silent, I still know He’s there…because I know He promises to never leave.

Back then, I didn’t know how to walk with God and let Him get me through. I was surviving because I had to, but I felt alone the entire way. 

Now it is a very different story. The issues and situations are no less painful than they were back then, but facing them with God makes the journey one in which I can even find joy—joy in knowing that God is at work. I can feel Him and see Him at work.

Does living in Christ mean there will no longer be trying times? No, not at all. It means that I’m not going through it alone.

Living in Christ allows me to see God’s blessings along the way, even when I’m going through something I would never wish on anyone else.

Knowing God’s voice and presence means I can focus on Him instead of the chaos around me. I’m human, though, and it’s easy to lose my focus. But now, it’s easier to hear His voice when He says, “Laura, over here. Look at Me.”

Living life with Him enables me to see how I’ve grown and changed, much of it happening during the bad times.  

My memories of recent trials include times of His comfort and guidance. Yes, I still remember the bad stuff, but it’s diluted with the joy I’ve found in Christ. While my memories of the long ago past focus on the hurt, anger, and hatred during that time.

What a difference! Back then I didn’t know God’s comfort or love. Now, I lean into Him because I can’t get enough.

In this life we will have trouble, but even through the trouble, we can find joy in our relationship with Christ.

Undeniable joy—the kind that can be hard to explain, but when you feel it—you know it.

I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.
John 16:33 NLT

In Christ,
Laura 

Linking up with Holley Gerth, Jennifer at #TellHisStory, Winsome Wednesday, WholeHearted HomeThought Provoking Thursday, and Faith Filled Friday.

Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

8 comments:

  1. wow.. what a powerful post that puts words to exactly how life has been for me and my family this past month. What a beautiful writer you are. Thank you so much! This really ministered to my soul!

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    1. Jenn, your family really has been on a journey this past month. Thank you for sharing how you've seen God's blessings throughout it. And thank you for blessing me with your kind words!

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  2. Linking up after you at Thought Provoking Thursday - and thankful I did! This was so good for me to read today - to remind me of these truths. We're going through a new trial in our family, and I know from past trials that the key is exactly what you wrote about here. And I desire to keep my eyes and heart on HIM, watching for all His gifts amidst this trial. And His greatest gift is closeness to HIM.

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  3. Hi Laura, just stopping by to say how delightful your blog is. Thanks so much for sharing. I have recently found your blog and am now following you, and will visit often. Please stop by my blog and perhaps you would like to follow me also. Have a wonderful day. Hugs, Chris
    http://chelencarter-retiredandlovingit.blogspot.ca/

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  4. "I lean into Him because I can't get enough." Such beautiful words you've shared on how we can still find joy in the difficult times when we lean into Him. I'm so thankful he never leaves us. Happy to find my way here though Jennifer's link-up. Blessings to you.

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  5. I really enjoyed this post and find uplifting joy here. Reminds me we are NOT alone even in the rough spots of life. Thanks, Laura!

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  6. Thanks for this, Laura. I have experienced the difference you write about, and yet I've never been able to put it into words. I'm going to sit with this one for a while. Thanks for your faithfulness!

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  7. Powerful post. I rested in His Strength this week - and felt His power when I felt weak. Great post on finding joy ... just need to focus on Him.
    Blessings,
    Janis

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Thank you for sharing your thoughts!