My father-in-law says you can have miserable days or miserable moments. He reminds me of this when I’m at the crossroad of choosing which one I’m about to have.
It comes up in all moments now, small and big. Home and work. In reality and in my mind.
While it’s better to have a miserable moment than day (though, who wants any misery at all?), the Apostle Paul tells us to always be full of joy in the Lord. (Phil 4:4)
And he follows that with, “I say it again–rejoice!”
The thing to note here is Paul didn’t write this while having an “everything is going my way” kind of day. He wrote this during imprisonment and in the context of discussing a problem arising in the church at Philippi.
“Easy for him to say” doesn’t fit here–noted.
So how can we find joy in tough times?
Find Peace in Jesus
This sounds simple, and maybe it is. We make it difficult usually and choose grumbling over God. We often choose to live in our pain because no one else understands.
This is the place to find peace in Jesus — to find joy in miserable moments.
Last week’s post covered having the mind of Christ and how — while it’s no simple task — it has everything to do with our spiritual growth.
This week goes a step further.
Desiring to have the mind of Christ and truly (attempting) to walk the walk does not keep trials from entering our life.
Jesus himself said that we will have trials and sorrow (John 16:33). Some translations say we’ll have “trouble” and others say “tribulations.”
We’ll experience different levels of misery. For some of us it will be momentary, like a conflict that brings us down; for others it will be long-lasting, like the loss of a loved one. With that said, there’s a time to grieve and mourn. And in that still…. there’s the peace of Jesus reaching out its hand.
Here’s the thing: Jesus conquered death. He overcame the world. In all scenarios where we have faith, God has a plan.
We can take peace in Jesus.
How Do We Rejoice in Misery?
This is where God works in our life because we cannot do it alone.
While He is always there, we have moments the require us to call out to Him. To pray. To sing.
In what almost all of us would agree was an extremely miserable moment — Paul and Silas are stripped, beaten with wooden rods, thrown into the inner dungeon with their feet clamped in stocks (translation: no light, fresh air or movement) — they begin praying and singing hymns to God. (Acts 16:25)
And the other prisoners listened.
Around the midnight hour, we’re told that an earthquake struck, breaking the chains. Freeing the prisoners. And even the jailor himself was set free — but in a different way.
This Sunday I heard a pastor explain how many ask if Paul and Silas were singing to be free or singing because they were already free. He felt they were singing because they were already free. And in that joy… that joy and freedom in what most of us would call misery … God sent an earthquake.
I’m taking on the challenge this year of finding peace and joy in Jesus, even when I’m tempted to feel hurt, pain, disappointment …. and yes, misery. How about you?
Have you found peace in Jesus during a troubling time?
Photo Credit. Thank you!