Bible Study: 10 Ways to Find Joy in the Trials of Life
Written by Christi Given | March 13, 2015
We all go through good seasons and bad seasons, abundant seasons and the dry as well. My question for you is how do you handle the tough seasons? Is your perspective short term or long term? What kind of attitude do you have? Do you trust God and worship Him even when life is hard or the unexpected happens?
Having a joyful attitude and spirit doesn’t come from our own strength, but rather when we glean from God’s word and lean on the Holy Spirit. We must deny ourselves: our pride, our wants and desires, and our plan to surrender into God’s perfect plan.
…give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
Think of Joseph in the Bible. God had great, mighty plans awaiting him, but Joseph’s character needed to be tested before he was promoted. Joseph experienced much grief and hardship when his own brothers betrayed him and threw him into the pit, and then he was sold into slavery, where he ended up being a servant in Potiphar’s home (Genesis 37). Potiphar’s wife falsely accused him—she was the one who came on to him and tried to be with him—yet Joseph was thrown into prison even though he was innocent and would never betray his master. What can we learn from Joseph? He was steadfast, he was faithful and he had a good attitude in the midst of his trials (Psalm 4:7).
Next, because Joseph had God’s favor and blessing, he could interpret dreams, which caught the attention of Pharaoh, and eventually he was second in power under the most powerful leader in Egypt.
Later, the vision came to pass that his brothers bowed down to him and Pharaoh because of the drought, and Joseph loved and forgave them anyway. He recognized them, and finally they ended up realizing what they did and begged for reconciliation. Joseph forgave them and overlooked their betrayal and attempt to kill him. Wow, what an example Joseph set! Joseph could have lorded it over his brothers, but he didn’t. Instead, he had forgiveness and compassion and gave them plenty of food for the journey home.
How do you deal with pain, hardship, disappointment? Do you run to God and His word and trust Him, or do you doubt and begin to rebel in your heart? We all need the Holy Spirit, and we all need grace. We all need Jesus to help us.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? (Romans 8:35 NIV)
How do we find joy in difficult circumstances?
1. We look to God and His Holy Word: The Bible says, “Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.” (Psalm 34:5)
2. We trust Jesus, even in the UNKNOWN: The Hillsong United lyrics to “Oceans” talk about “the great unknown where feet may fail.” This song has such truth and courage in it. We need to go out into the waters of life in the unknown where we may feel like we will fail, but we know with CHRIST we will never fail. We may fall, but we are victors. Our faith causes us to stand, amen? It may be scary and waves may be crashing in the storm of life, but God is sovereign. He knows and is in control (Psalm 4:7).
3. Lean on the Holy Spirit: The Bible says that in our weakness He is strong (2 Corinthians 12:9-11).
4. Focus on the good: “Whatever is true and noble, focus on these things…” (Philippians 4:8). Remember to count your blessings…gratitude changes your attitude!
5. Be around joyful people: Surround yourself with Spirit-led believers. You are influenced by who you hang with and walk with (Psalm 1).
6. Get into God’s presence: In His presence is FULLNESS of joy! Listen to a worship song. Here is one of my current favorites from Hillsong Young & Free, “Pursue.”
7. Ask the Holy Spirit for increase: Elisha asked for Elijah’s spirit, but for a double portion. If you ask, you shall receive. Joy is a fruit of the Spirit (it is a result of having the Spirit of Christ inside of you). Romans 8:11 says the same power that raised Christ from the dead is in every believer. Powerful, isn’t it?
8. Stay meek: What is meekness? It is like humility. Remember the Lord tells us to clothe ourselves with humility. What does this mean? We need to make a choice to be humble. Humility is not easy and is not of fleshly, earthly attitudes, but of Christ. We aim for godliness, but need God to enable us, amen?
9. Rest in His presence and know He is God: How can we be joyful in trials? The Bible says, “Be still and know that He is God.” (Psalm 46:10) That means be still in your situation in your flesh and emotions, and trust your Heavenly Father.
10. Reflect on His faithfulness and focus on His promises: I love the verse in the scriptures that says “feed on His faithfulness” (Psalm 37:3). How good is that?! Oh how I love God’s Holy Word that is truth and how I yearn for His presence, and love to always remember how GOOD the Lord is to me daily! How GREAT is our God!
PI Girls, how do you remain joyful in hard times or uncertain seasons in life? Do you journal, listen to worship or just reflect on all of God’s promises? Comment below!