How to Find Joy in Miserable Moments

by Jen on January 17, 2011

find peace in JesusMy 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!

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Bunnyb1802 January 17, 2011 at 1:31 pm

Between you, Fireball 3316, Sarah Markley and Frothy43, I am having my socks challenged off!

There are the very few and odd occassions when I have felt the peace in my life when all is not well. But most times, I just bitch about it and let my frustration get the better of me, vent about it to someone who’s not really interested and basically let my day got shot because I didn’t take a breath and think first.

You know, I had some news today that was expected but that I know will be causing atleast two extended family members much upset. I’m upset for them. But it has put things into perspective. Firstly I’ve been whinging about my boss and being my miserable self at the office today and, the minute I got that call, I forgot to continue with the misery. It was like someone saying “stop that nonsense”. Secondly, those family members don’t know Jesus and I realised how incredibly fortunate I am that, when the chips are really down, I have Someone I can go to.

Anyway, Thanks for this post. I will be pondering on this for a while.
BXX

Jennifer Johns January 18, 2011 at 10:24 am

Yes, before being saved by grace, I looked everywhere for ways to find peace in my life. Now I look to Jesus, and it has made all the difference. He goes beyond any “cure all” that can be found here.

chuks olex January 18, 2011 at 11:10 am

The word of God says “My peace Igive unto you not as the world gives”.It’s worthy to understand that every trial in the life of a christian is meant to bring out something that will either minister to an upcoming christian or to grorify God. Or even to teach you patience because perseverance has a lot to do with the race.

Jennifer Johns January 19, 2011 at 12:28 am

Funny, after writing this post — trials. I’m feeling put to the test. Everywhere I want to turn there’s the spirit’s presence telling me “you know where to turn.”

Perseverance is an encouraging word– hard in difficult times — but encouraging.

Thank you.

David January 19, 2011 at 11:10 am

Sometimes we don’t persevere right away and we must endure what some translations call long-suffering, through what can be trials of unimaginable magnitudes. These really tough trials can be the perfect examples to understand why we must rely on Jesus, because there is no way we can endure them on our own. Times like these also help us to understand why it’s so important to live in obedience to the spirit. Living in the spirit transcends these trials and it requires learning and knowing God’s word to prevent our human nature from taking control and reeking havoc on our peace in God. We must “stay” in the word to stay in Christ (know what that means!).

Jennifer Johns January 25, 2011 at 10:13 am

Thanks David — I’d also add that we need God’s help to learn and know His word. As much as we try to be perfect by our own works, we still fall short. We need God’s spirit to touch us, transform us and lift us up in moments when our human nature is fighting to take control.

Deidra February 24, 2011 at 6:30 pm

Was feeling hopeless and angry about life, then I saw a slide show about the earthquake in New Zealand. I started to feel ashamed of myself. Here am I complaining and depressed about little things but these people are going through the worst time of their lives. I prayed for the people in the images that I saw and I started counting my blessings. My spirits were lifted a bit. My situation hasn’t changed but again I am reminded that I can look for the good in any situation.

Jennifer Johns February 24, 2011 at 9:25 pm

It’s great to hear that you prayed, Deidra. I have no doubt that during our most trying times, when we put our trust in the Lord and let him do his work, we come out as gold.

Thank you for sharing how you you are reminded to look for the good in any situation — it’s not always easy to do.

Blessings.

liz March 8, 2011 at 5:41 am

I am trying to get myself calm. But still I feel shattered at times. My hsband started an affair an year back which was brought up twice and which he first said was mere friendship and later lied to me and hid things from me. Now when I found out more, he admits and repents and says it would never happen again. But I dont know how to have the trsut in him as I was cheated through out. How do I gain the trust in him. How do I find peace. How should I pray to God. We are now praying together daily to restore the relation. But at times I wonder whether there is sincerety in that from his side. I am lost and hence seeking help.

Jennifer Johns March 10, 2011 at 2:30 pm

Liz, this is heartbreaking. I’m sorry you are suffering through this, and I’ve wondered about how women handle issues like this in a Godly way.

While I believe we must first trust in God and pray for wisdom, I agree this would cause deep distrust in a marriage — it would be hard to find peace and intimacy in marriage without feeling secure and safe, especially when it comes to adultery.

I’d like to reach out for help on this topic and follow up with others comments below or with a new post that addresses this topic. In the meantime I will pray for you Liz, and I hope anyone who reads this will pray for Liz and her marriage.

You and your husband are doing the right thing by turning to God in prayer. Keep going. Pray for the Lord to show you what to do.

Peace and love.

alwonda September 5, 2011 at 4:47 pm

I want to thank you for all the posts on your webiste.. I am at a lost in my life…. my husband wants to end our maarriage after 10 years…. having financial problems…. Im looking and searching for guidance… thanks so much… reading your websit and all the comments has been so encouraging to me…. I trust you will continually grow in christ and be blessed…… I believe allmy help comes from the Lord.. Im encouraged…. Again thanks.

ARIOSTO ELI CASTAÑO February 11, 2012 at 10:19 am

HE PRESENCIA DOLOR Y SUFRIEMIENTO TRIBULACION Y DESESPERACION EN MI MATRIMONIO MI ESPOSA DECIDIO EL DIVORCIO SE QUE ES UNA PRUEVA DIFICIL Y SE QUE ES POR QUE M,E ALEJE DE EL SEÑOR JESUS PERO DOY GRACIAS AL SEÑOR QUE ES MEDIO DE ESTA PRUEVA EL JAMAS SOLTO MI MANO SE QUE EL QUERIA QUE REGRESARA AL REDIL EL ME DICIPLINOI ME ISO Y ME DECISO ME ESTA VOLVIENDO A SER EL ME DICE LO ETERNO SE COSE A FUEGO LENTO Y DE QUE EL ME DA AMOR Y PAZ EN ESTOS MOMENTOS Y SE QUE EL AMOR EN TODO MATRIMONIO EL AMOR JAMAS DEJA DE SER EL AMOR ACABA HASTA QUE DIOS ACABE TREENDO VERDAD PERO LES DIGO ALGO SI NO ESTAMOS EN LA ROCA EN CRISTO JESUS AUNQUE LAS AGUAS SEAN FUERTEZ AYA TEMPESTAD EL QUE PERMANECE EN CRISTO JAMAS TENDRA CONSECUENCIAS GRANDES POR QUE EL ANMEDIO EE ESTO EL ESTA A NUESTRO LADO SIEMPRE DIOS LES BENDIGA HERAMNITOS Y JAMAS NOS ALEJEMOS DE DIOS AMEN ESTE ES MI FACEBOOK( ARIOSTO ELI DIOS LES BENDIGA Y ANIMADOS AN CRISTO JESUS AMEN

Colee June 24, 2012 at 4:58 pm

As a child I was sexually tortured by a sadistic pedophile and other pedophiles, my parents had substance abuse problems, and I’ve been homeless and struggled constantly. My friend who was also abused by this same man ended up killing himself. I struggle with PTSD and depression. I struggle with finding a place to live. I struggle finding people who are true but at the end of the day God is always true. So I will endure. I managed to graduate high school. I have one year of college done. There was a two year setback but I’m twenty-four and I hope, I pray I will succeed despite the horror I have seen.

chrismal January 9, 2013 at 9:06 pm

You will succeed colee!!!

damaris February 12, 2013 at 2:41 am

Hi brethren,
Love from Kenya, I am blessed today to have visited your web site; I thank God for His divine direction to you and your ministry. The web site is full of instruction based on the Bible. We pray that you will continue supporting us with more teaching materials and bibles to help us to grow spiritually in our ministry. Pray for the suffering children amongst us [church] that God provision may be felt in their daily course.
We will keep you in our prayers and we ask God to open up for you the means that will help you to come to Kenya to minister to the thirsting soul.
God bless you abundantly.
In His love,

pastor Damaris.

joey August 4, 2013 at 11:33 am

i have one beset sin i keep tring to over come , but when i fail and give into it IT IS A DRUG , i feel so far from Juses for days , then the evil one tells me im not saved , but im glad i feel bad cause as long as i feel bad i know the lord is still with me , but how do i stop this sin ?

Tina October 16, 2013 at 6:05 pm

Joey, keep asking God to help you overcome. Even if you fail some days forgive yourself and ask God to help you overcome, He will help you do it!

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