Finding Resilient Joy and Peace in Uncertain Times
- Hope Bolinger Author
- 2020 11 Dec
As Christians we have often heard the phrase, “choose joy.” Although the sentiment seems nice on paper, finding resilient joy and peace in uncertain times takes a lot more effort. This year alone has pushed many of us to our limits. Many of us feel like the seeds in Jesus’ parable found in Matthew 13:3-7: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants.”
Our joy may have sprung up at first, and our peace as well. But as soon as hard times hit, we found that both had withered or got choked. So how do we find resilient joy and peace, especially during times of trouble? Do we have any examples from Scripture we can look to? Let’s dive in to these questions.
Resilient Joy and Peace in the Bible
We often turn to Scripture to find examples in which we can relate. Many of us see ourselves as a Peter or a Daniel or an Esther. Can we also find instances in Scripture where someone experienced resilient joy or peace (or both) when enduring hard times? Short answer: yes. Let’s analyze some figures from the Bible who underwent a great trial and showed joy and peace in the midst of it.
First, let’s take a look at Paul and Silas in the New Testament. These two Christians, in Acts 16, cast a demon out of a slave girl who told fortunes. Her masters, upset they could no longer make a profit off of her, falsely accuse Paul and Silas in front of the marketplace authorities. Paul and Silas receive a severe beating and end up imprisoned. Here’s how they react:
Acts 16:25: “About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them”
They choose to praise God in the midst of their dire circumstances. In doing so, they exemplify resilient joy and peace.
Secondly, let’s analyze the poster child for pain and suffering: Job. Satan tests Job’s loyalty to God by taking away his health, most of his family, his servants, his land, and his livelihood. The devil leaves behind Job’s wife for a good reason. Because she tells Job to curse God and die. Instead, Job responds in this way:
Job 1:21: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.”
Job praises the name of the Lord, even after he has lost everything. It would seem that Job has founded his joy and peace in something deeper than the things that can pass away. Although we deeply love our family, our jobs, and our homes, we know that the things of Earth can vanish suddenly. But the Lord’s love and peace lasts forever.
Verses on Resilient Joy and Peace
What does the Bible have to say about resilient joy and peace? Let’s take a look at some verses below.
Habakkuk 3:17-18 “Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the Lord! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!”
The major and minor prophets of the Old Testament underwent severe trials. If they didn’t have kings trying to kill them, they watched as foreign nations sacked Israel. Nevertheless, they praise God no matter what the season’s harvest brings.
2 Corinthians 4:8-9: “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.”
The Bible doesn’t tell us to ignore our hurting or suffering. After all, Jesus wept even though he knew that he would raise Lazarus from the dead. But even though we endure trials, we will not end up crush or driven to despair. We have a God of peace and joy who sits with us during the hurt.
Galatians 6:9: “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”
Scripture does guarantee we will endure trials of many kinds. But that does not mean that every season will lead to a time of tribulation. God also gives us seasons of plenty and gifts the ultimate eternal season of plenty in heaven with him. So we press on.
4 Ways to Find Resilient Joy and Peace
So how do we find ways to exercise resilient joy and peace during our darkest moments?
Take It to the Lord in Prayer
First and foremost, God wants to hear from you. He doesn’t just want you to pray when you’ve experienced prosperity. Bring your hurt to him. Ask for healing, for strength, for joy, and for peace. We have a generous God who understands our suffering, as he underwent suffering here on Earth.
Recall How God Has Come through in the Past
We can all recall instances where God came through for us. Perhaps we couldn’t afford groceries for the week, and an extra check came in the mail. Maybe we didn’t know how we could press on during a family member’s health crisis, and God provided peace. We have an unchanging God. If he has helped us in the past, he will certainly come through for us now. Wait on him and know that he will not forsake you.
Praise God No Matter What
We all endure suffering, but probably never a Job-level of it. Still Job, Paul, and Silas choose to praise God after having gone through unfair beatings, loss of family, and horrid health afflictions. It’s very easy to praise our Lord when everything goes right. But if we only do that, we exercise cheap joy and peace. Trials tend to reveal where our hearts lie. Even during our darkest moments, we have so much to be thankful for. The fact we have a loving God who cares about us alone should cause us to lift up our hands in praise.
Remember That Suffering Does Not Last
Not only will we have seasons full of a bountiful harvest, but we will arrive at a destination where tears are no longer shed. We know that pain only lasts for a short period of time, and all the trials we endured will pale in comparison with the eternal peace and joy we experience in heaven.
When you feel your joy and peace strained, remember God’s promises. Job, Paul, and Silas don’t undergo suffering forever. In fact, as the story of Job goes, he receives a double portion of everything he lost. Scripture doesn’t guarantee we’ll have our losses multiplied into gains when the pain ends, but we know we have a generous and loving God who understands our pain. Wait on him and continue to praise him, no matter what the season.
Photo credit: ©GettyImages/fizkes
Hope Bolinger is an acquisitions editor at End Game Press, and the author 21+ books. More than 1400 of her works have been featured in various publications. Check out her books at hopebolinger.com for clean books in most genres, great for adults and kids.