By Pastor Shawn Carter,
Meadows of Dan Baptist Church
As a pastor, I am often asked by disheartened folks about how they can find happiness and joy in the midst of life’s struggles. I want to share with you in the following, how to have joy in your life; no matter the situation you are in. It is my hope that by reading the following you will be encouraged to start your journey to a joyful life.
There was a man named Dean who I worked with in the past. He taught me so much about having joy in my life no matter how bad the situation is around me. Dean had broken his back when he was a teenager and because of complications of that injury, he had pain as he walked. Part of our job was to pack lumber each day, which required lots of walking and maneuvering, and that brought him great pain with every step he took.
It did not matter how much we had to walk, or even if we had to pack that lumber in the rain, he would have a smile on his lips. Time to time, as we would roll over the timber, he would whistle an old hymn and often laugh out loud. I watched him very closely and he was always joyful and happy.
One day, I was feeling like my life was so hard and I asked him, “How can you be so happy with all that pain in your life?” He turned at me and begin to share the following:
He said, “Young man, so many people are searching for happiness and joy in life, in all kinds of places, but the truth is joy comes from the Lord and it comes in due time.” He began to share with me that he was bitter and so mad about how his life had turned out, then one day he had read the following verses in the Bible.
The first scripture was Romans 15:13, which says, “Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.” Dean then said, “As long as I have the Lord in my life, then I have all I need and can be sure that He will save my soul.” That is so true! In times when life gets feeling like there is no hope, we must know that God has us right in his hands and that he holds the future. True joy comes when we know God and we can walk in the struggles of life with Him.
Then my friend began to quote Psalms 30:5, “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” He proceeded to teach me that pain only lasts for a moment, and that Joy comes in the morning. I did not understand what he meant at that moment. Seeing I did not understand, Dean said, “My Joy is not about being pain free, but rather my joy is waking up every morning seeing what God has for me today.” Sometimes, we must stop looking at all the mess and hardships, and focus on the healing that comes in the morning. God has a purpose for you each day, our joy is living that purpose out.
However, sometimes life just runs us over, and we can lose our God given right, as part of the family of God, to be happy. It is not only our right to be happy as children of God – it is commanded of us to be happy, to be joyful! We see this Philippians 4:4 “Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again, I say, Rejoice.” This isn’t a suggestion it is a command. I will put it this way, in our pain and struggles let us, rejoice in Jesus, praise His name! When we take our eyes off our troubles and start praising Jesus, we began see many things to be thankful for. A thankful heart is a happy, joyful heart.
Many will ask how do I rejoice? The scripture never tells you to do something without telling you how to do it. That is what Paul goes on to do. He gives you the Formula for Joy!
We are told by Paul that to rejoice, we need to know that God is with us. He says in Philippians 4:5 that “The Lord is at hand or near us.” That gives us the proper perspective and it gives testimony to what Dean shared with me. Today, if you don’t have Jesus in your life, why don’t you call out to Him and rejoice in all that He has for you.
When you call out to Jesus and repent of your sins, you will be able to do and claim the following from this verse in Philippians 4:5-7. Which says “5 Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. 6 Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
Remember that Joy comes in the morning and that in due time the Lord will heal you. My prayer for you today is that the God of peace will keep your heart and minds through Christ Jesus. Remember, to seek the Lord and always rejoice in Him.