How we can develop inner strength amid adversity
Our moods rise and fall like the ocean waves. We can be happy but, the next moment, we can quickly sink into depression.
Happiness is unpredictable as it depends on favourable circumstances. Joy, on the other hand, is constant as it looks towards a faithful, unchanging God.
Though the harvest failed and the farm animals died, Habakkuk could still rejoice in God.
“Though the fig tree should not blossom,
nor fruit be on the vines,
the produce of the olive fail
and the fields yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold
and there be no herd in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord;
I will take joy in the God of my salvation.”
Why? Because he knew that God is trustworthy and He will prove His faithfulness once again.
“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.”
Writing from prison where he was incarcerated, Paul encouraged believers with a triumphant message: “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice” (Philippians 4:4).
Why was Paul joyful despite being trapped in a prison cell? He had a personal relationship with the living God and knew that he was fulfilling God’s purpose for his life. Even the dark and musty surroundings did not make him lose hope in God. As he looked forward to the eternal rewards that awaited him, his spirit was uplifted.
When trials and tribulations hit us, we should focus on Jesus’ example to gain inner strength and joy.
The writer of Hebrews reminds us to look to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12:2).
Jesus was able to endure the suffering because of the joyful prospect of seeing man reconciled to God. Out of the anguish of His soul, He shall be satisfied for many are made righteous (Isaiah 53:11).
How can we develop inner strength and joy despite the circumstances? Here are eight ways to help us:
- Be positive about trials as they produce steadfastness (James 1:2-3)
- Don’t be anxious or fearful because God’s presence is always with us (Romans 8:38-39)
- Have faith in God and He will give us wisdom and strength (James 1:5, 2 Corinthians 12:9)
- Affirm that the battle is God’s, not ours (2 Chronicles 20:12)
- Worship God as if victory has already been secured (2 Chronicles 20:21)
- With thanksgiving, prayerfully commit our anxieties to God (Philippians 4:6)
- Believe that God’s power can do far more than what we ask or think (Ephesians 3:20)
- Recalling God’s past faithfulness and mercies (Psalm 77:11)
As we seek God, we will be well watered—even as we pass through a dry valley, like that of Baca.
Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
in whose heart are the highways to Zion.
As they go through the Valley of Baca
they make it a place of springs;
the early rain also covers it with pools.
After all, God promises to deliver those who know Him and depend on Him.
“Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him;
I will protect him, because he knows my name.
When he calls to me, I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will rescue him and honor him.
Finding inner strength and joy under adverse circumstances may be extremely difficult. But it is not impossible. If we meditate on the three examples above—lessons from the lives of Habakkuk, Paul and Jesus—things might be much easier to bear.
Thanks be to God who always causes us to triumph in Christ (2 Corinthians 2:14)!
Trials and tribulations can teach us a lot, especially in the areas of character and personal growth. Clearly, God has a purpose when He puts us through painful experiences.
When believers go through trials and tribulations, it is natural to ask God, “Why? Why does this have to happen to me?” In some instances, God remains silent and fails to grant us relief from our suffering.
God’s vision for our lives often revolves around our gifts—areas in which we shine like a star. Sometimes, this vision is birthed out of a scar, after we have gone through painful struggles.
Why we have to be steadfast in our journey of faith. What are the possible consequences if we fail to persevere?
SOURCE OF ARTICLE: http://limpohann.blogspot.my/2016/12/joy-despite-circumstances.html
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Dr Lim Poh Ann