To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;” ~ Ecclesiastes 3:1, 4
This world has enough pain without me adding my two cents worth. There are too many rapes, abuses, and murders. Drugs, alcohol and sex wreak chaos in just about every family. Disease, death, natural disasters abound everywhere. All of this negativity leads to heartache and despair, but I choose to walk a different path. I choose to follow the words of Jesus in John 15:11 when He said, “These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” I choose to walk the path of joy!
I know what you are thinking: joy only lasts when you don’t have problems. But, I can promise you this: joy from God lasts despite your problems. And I would know, as I have had my share of problems! My mom got cancer when I was sixteen. Both my parents died within a five year span during my twenties. Years of infertility led to the eventual diagnosis of being unable to have children. Yet through it all, I have been at peace and have kept my joy by following these five simple suggestions:
1) Try to rediscover laughter. Use Proverbs 17:22 as a guide, “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.” If laughter seems unattainable, I surround myself with children and let them lift my spirits with their antics. It works every time!
2) Remind yourself of the good things that God has done in your life. In my life, I have found that my trials pale in comparison to the blessings God has bestowed upon me, so I rise to praise His name. The seeds of bitterness do not grow in the garden of gratefulness. “Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing: then said they among the heathen, The LORD hath done great things for them” (Psalm 126:2).
3) Stay close to the Father, for He is the source of joy. Psalm 116:11 puts it this way. “Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.”
4) Remember the pain you are encountering will only last for a season. As Psalm 30:5b says, “weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” What a powerful reminder!
5) Stop focusing on today, and live for eternity. No matter what we face here, our redemption is coming, and with it, eternal peace. Revelations 21:4 says, “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.“ What a day that will be!
What ways do you keep your joy in the midst of pain?