Unshakeable Joy in Times of Trial
Note: The devotional that follows, as well as subsequent posts in this series, originally were written for and appeared as anonymous publications in the bulletins of a local church. They have also been published at the Do Not Be Surprised Blog; however, considering the joy (no pun intended) which resulted from the composition of this series, and the limited audience to which these articles were initially exposed, it seemed appropriate to also share them here.
We delight when life brings ease, comfort, and good news, and we thank God for restful times of joy. Yet, Scripture promises that our earthly lives may not always be defined by favorable circumstances. Instead, Jesus promised that, “in this world [we] will have tribulation.” Note, too, how He ends His sentence: “But, take courage; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
What does this mean when we endure relational heartache, financial distress, or uncertain health? According to James, we are to, “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance” (Jas 1:2‑3).
What does this mean when we are persecuted for our faith, whether by mere ridicule or worse? Peter tells us if we are reviled for the name of Christ, we are blessed (1 Pet 4:14). This encouragement mirrors Christ’s teaching, who said, “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness... Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matt 5:10-12).
In times of trial, we remember the example of our Lord, “who for the joy set before Him endured the cross…” (Heb 12:2). If our eyes remain fixed on this One who faced death so that we might live, then we will find our lives defined by joy regardless of outward circumstances.
With our hearts and minds fully settled on following Christ, we can have joy even in times of uncertainty and trial. When we immerse ourselves in His Word, wherein we find the comfort and truth of His promises, we remember that God has divinely and sovereignly ordained all things to come to pass for His glory and our good (Rom 8:28). Not one element of our circumstances is outside of the purview and sovereign control of our Lord, and beloved, that should fill you with utterly unshakeable joy.