“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
The joy came but as it came, so did the testing. Scripture tells us to take joy in the testing of our faith but that is not always easy and often times require a lot of faith and a ton of patience. It is amazing though that through our testing we can still experience a great amount of peace as well as joy.
People seek after things like peace and joy and most definitely hope but often do not find them very easily because they are searching in the wrong places. These things can only be obtained when we have a relationship with God. Joy, peace and hope are benefits that we receive when we choose to walk with Him and are willing to sacrifice for that relationship. We know that more often times than not, sacrifice goes hand in hand with suffering. Does God want us to suffer? Absolutely not but He knows that through our suffering, hope, joy and peace will be most recognized in our life.
We are only able to obtain true peace, joy and hope in our life when we have a true relationship with God through Jesus Christ. We can read the Bible, attend church and countless bible studies but doing these things will not bring us that which we seek out. We must choose to walk with God, obey His commands and seek to have a heart like His. We must accept our circumstances and choose not to worry about those things for which we have no control. If we fix our eyes upon Christ instead of our situations then our future becomes full of hope and in that, those around us will see Christ living within us. Our actions and words will be reflective of a life lived walking with God and not focused on ourselves.
Choose to lay all your hurts and worries before Him and accept the circumstances you find yourself surrounded by and in Him you will find comfort as well as hope and peace.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
A bruised reed He will not break, and a smoldering wick He will not snuff out”.
Sometimes in life, our struggles can bring us to a place of spiritual depression. A place where you feel as if God has left you and you are standing alone in the midst of your personal storm, feeling like you just cannot take anymore. You find that you are ready to throw in the towel and say, “I’ve had enough. I’m done”. Times like this come more often than not and it is easy to find yourself wondering where God has gone.
In the middle of dark times do you find yourself sitting alone in a corner asking why or are you standing with your arms outstretched praising the God who loves you even when you feel abandoned. The story of Elijah when Jezebel is after him ( 1Kings 18:16-40) reminds me that whenever we think that we have had enough, God steps in and shows us just who He is in the midst of our storm and provides us with what we need and that He has been there all along.
When we cry out to God, the Holy Spirit can bring us the hope and peace that our heart longs for in hard times. In every aspect of our life, God provides us with His grace and love and it will always be enough when we allow that truth to sink deep into our heart and life. Only when we feel like we are sinking and weak and are struggling to get through, God is strong for us. Our weakness is His opportunity to step in and help us not hurt us.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Turn your eyes upon Jesus
O soul, are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There’s light for a look at the Savior,
And life more abundant and free!
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.
Through death into life everlasting
He passed, and we follow Him there;
O’er us sin no more hath dominion—
For more than conquerors we are!
His Word shall not fail you—He promised;
Believe Him, and all will be well:
Then go to a world that is dying,
His perfect salvation to tell!
As I found myself in the dark place, I was weary and exhausted but the words of Turn your eyes upon Jesus would play repeatedly in my head. I was having such a hard time recognizing exactly what my eyes had become focused on and what had taken my eyes off Him. I was so tired and felt like giving up so many times because the burdens and struggles were more than I could bare and were weighing me down. I could not get my head above water and I was sinking fast. I knew what the Bible said and I knew what to do but trying to regain my focus was a lot harder than I ever thought possible. I stumbled upon the words in Matthew that said Jesus does not invite the “wise and learned” but instead the “weary and burdened”. What a great epiphany I had as I repeated those words repeatedly in my head. He is inviting me, as tired and exhausted as I was from the difficult struggles that I was carrying to “come to Him” and He “would give me rest”. This will now mean that I will have to refocus on His face and not the things around me. When I finally do that, I will find my way out of the darkness in which I have found myself. It will require aligning my heart with His once again.
Shakespeare said that “The prince of darkness is a gentleman” and this statement is quite true. He knows exactly how to sneak in the back door and how to charm us in order for our eyes to lose focus on the One who will protect and love us. As I now move forward closer to Christ, all those things that are of this world will become “strangely dim” and I will see the “light of His glory and grace”.