This is such a difficult concept for us Christians to grasp. We’ve been told over and over again that God wants us to live abundantly. That he has nothing but good for us. But sometimes the truth is, if we admit it, it doesn’t really feel that way. I’m not saying it isn’t true! But it simply doesn’t feel like it is. What do you do when you face these times? How do you hang on to your joy and not give into Satan’s lies that God isn’t for you but rather against you or simply not there at all?
A few years ago when my hubby and I were facing some challenging times I remember feeling almost ignored by God. As if He just didn’t want to bless me. Things weren’t going down like I had expected them to and I was really confused with God. Why, if His Word told me He wanted me to live abundantly and have joy to the fullest, wasn’t I feeling like this was the case? Have you ever experienced a time like this? Well I don’t have the perfect solution for overflowing with what our world describes as blessings, but what I can offer is a Biblical solution for living abundantly and having overflowing joy despite your circumstances.
I honestly still remember reading the following verse for the very first time. It was during the times of struggle that I mentioned and it knocked me to my knees.
Habakkuk 3:17-19 (NKJV)
Though the fig tree may not blossom,
Nor fruit be on the vines;
Though the labor of the olive may fail,
And the fields yield no food;
Though the flock may be cut off from the fold,
And there be no herd in the stalls—
Yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will joy in the God of my salvation.
The Lord God is my strength;
He will make my feet like deer’s feet,
And He will make me walk on my high hills.
Wow. What powerful verses! What I realized after reading these verses was that even if I never receive anything else ever again the salvation I have in Jesus Christ is worthy of all the joy I could ever experience. I have already been given more than I could ever deserve. When I remember this beautiful truth I am no longer affected by my circumstances. I believe this is what Paul was talking about when he said he has learned in every state to be content( Philippians 4:11). Paul had a heavenly perspective that enabled him to experience the joy of The Lord and God’s strength to endure all he faced. He looked to his salvation in Christ, not to whether or not his current needs or desires were being met. When I do this the joy and strength I experience is unfathomable.
Obviously not many of us are toiling in the fields, praying for a harvest, and herding animals. It might be more real to you if you think of it in a personal way. What is currently stealing your joy and strength? Here are some examples: Though my financial struggles never change, or I never overcome my physical illness, though I may never get pregnant, or I can’t seem to find a job during my unemployment, yet I will rejoice in The Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation. Really ponder this and make it personal based on what you are currently facing.
The bottom line is, even if salvation in Jesus Christ is all we ever receive, this is beyond more than we could ever deserve. Understanding this truth has enabled me to experience joy and strength regardless of my circumstances. I can tell you that since reading and taking these verses to heart my outlook on blessings has changed. I no longer feel like God has deserted me when things don’t seem to be going the way I’d hoped. Because no matter what, we have the ability, as Paul did, to be content regardless of the circumstances we face. We can do this by remembering what God has already done for us through sacrificing His son Jesus Christ, rather than focusing on what we don’t have or what isn’t going our way.
if you don’t know Jesus Christ as your savior He is always waiting with arms open wide to accept you as His son or daughter. Personally I believe the only way to have true joy in a world full of pain and disappointment is through Christ. Give Him a chance and you will quickly see what I mean!