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Finding Joy in the Heartache

By: Pastor David

"But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!"

Galatians 5:22-23 (NLT)

Corrie Ten Boom once said, "Jesus did not promise to change the circumstances around us. He promised great peace and pure joy to those who would learn to believe that God actually controls all things."

These words were spoken from a woman whose entire family was killed in a concentration camp and who almost lost her own life. How was she able to say such things considering what she'd experienced?  It was a choice that she made.  A choice she had to make repeatedly.  A choice we must make as well.  Not a choice to put on a mask and force a smile but a choice to fight for joy even in the pain.

Here are some principles to remember when fighting for joy:

1. Trials and heartache provide us with an opportunity for our faith to grow.  James 1:2-3 says "when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.  For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow."  Just like weightlifters build muscle through resistance training, our spiritual muscles are built when we go through trials. The more we focus on Jesus during the hard times in life, the stronger our faith becomes.

2. It is in His strength, not ours.  Phil 4:13 says "I can do all things thru Christ who gives me strength."  Pain isn't something we just choose to struggle through.  It's not simply choosing to be positive; it's plugging into God's power. We do this by choosing to read and believe God's word.  We choose to talk to God about it in prayer.  Tell Him what we think and what we feel.  We connect with other believers who can stand with us in faith and encouragement. (See Galatians 6:2)

3. It brings honor and glory to God.  Genesis 37 tells the story of Joseph who was sold into slavery by his brothers, lied about by his master's wife and sent to prison unjustly.  How painful that must have been.  He chose to be faithful to God, and he received strength to endure.  Ultimately, he was released from prison to deliver his family and the Egyptians from death. God used Joseph's pain to demonstrate His delivering power and glory.

God can and will grow our faith, give us His strength and display His glory thru our lives as we fight for joy. 

Digging Deeper:

1.Read Genesis 37.  Identify some ways Joseph maintained his faith and fought for joy in his circumstances.
2.What heartache are you facing right now that you are struggling to find joy in?
3.Which one of the three principles shared do you need to focus on the most during your time of heartache?


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