Joy as inner strength during trials is not to be confused with a bubbly or outgoing personality. Not everyone has such a charismatic personality, but they can feel joy deep within them. Also, not everyone who is bubbly and charismatic is feeling joy. Extroverts most often seem joyful. Introverts not so much. But we’re not talking about personality.
Instead we’re talking about a unique source of joy.
Paul writes in Romans 15:13, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
This deep inner joy is from the Lord, found in knowing Christ.
In Psalm 16:11, David writes that we can be “Filled with joy in God’s presence.”
Christians have been persecuted for their relationship with Christ for centuries all over the world. And yet they can be filled with joy. Paul writes in Romans 12:12, “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”
Joy is not easy. Joy can require work. Joy is a willful choice to follow the way of Jesus when what we want to do is lash out in angry hurtful ways. Joy is rooted, however, in the knowledge that God is our rock, that we can always depend on him, so that even when we are hurting and fearful and the future is unknown and perhaps not looking good, we our hope is found in God.
When life is awful, the joy of the Lord is our strength. When the future seems grim, we can be joyful in hope, knowing that God can overcome anything. That doesn’t mean he will make everything work out like we want or think it should work out. Often circumstances do not turn out as we hope they will. Sometimes we screw up and face difficult consequences of our own doing. Sometimes others hurt us. But we can have joy in the middle of all of it.
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