Most of you know that I live in Oklahoma. We have been faced with major difficulties lately. Flooding, severe storms, and tornadoes have plagued us. Many people have had their entire lives turned upside down. Life is not easy. It is hard to find joy in the midst of difficulties and trials. The pain of what we face tends to overwhelm us, and soon we let the worry and stress overtake the good times we experience in life. Without realizing it, your primary focus is the pain instead of the positive things that surround you. Why is this? Why do we forget about the love, peace, joy, and freedom we have each day? It’s there. It never goes away. The enemy wants us to feel defeated. The enemy thrives on sadness and insecurities. This is when we feel vulnerable and become easily swayed. The enemy knows this is the perfect opportunity to attempt to control your thinking. This is precisely why we must recognize the battle, and put up a fight. EPHESIANS 6:11 tells us, “Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” Putting on our full armor of God, means we pray; we seek God’s Word, and we ask for help. We cannot walk the difficult journeys of life alone. God never intended for us to face difficulties by ourselves. Jesus sought counsel. We must seek counsel as well. Why do we find it so hard to ask, seek, and receive? Our human flesh and pride, tend to get in the way of the gifts we are offered in each day. It isn’t easy to see the joy in the struggle, but it’s always there.
Grief has a particular journey. Grief requires the ultimate form of surrender. The emotions we face are raw and can seem unbearable. Sometimes we feel as if we aren’t supposed to express these raw emotions. It’s ok to feel emotions. It’s ok to take time to take care of yourself. We are uniquely designed, intricately woven and perfectly human. God has created in us, a distinct ability to make choices, take action, and feel emotions. This is a beautiful truth; yet there are times we struggle with those choices, actions, and emotions. It is not easy identifying and processing through the things we face in our life. Jesus knows this first hand. He was crucified for His choice to take on the sin of the world. But His choice…His willingness to face those raw emotions and endure the sufferings… is why we are able to endure and persevere in this world today. This is how we are able to experience true JOY in our lives…even when we have to face unbearable things. NEHEMIAH 8:10 reminds us “for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”
God has promised us eternal life, through His Son Jesus. This promise is what allows grief to be endured, and joy to be experienced. We have a Savior who lives within us. We are never alone in the things we face. We are understood. We are carried and we are loved unconditionally. But it does not mean we do not feel the emotions that God has given us. It means we recognize them, feel them, and then allow God to help us through it. We must allow ourselves to feel…and avoid the temptation to desensitize.
God desires us to have abundant joy in our lives. Our joy will not be perfect in this life. There will always be a struggle. But God is committed to our joy in Him. God knows your heart and He knows your emotions. Seek His heart and you can be assured you will find comfort, peace, and ultimately, JOY.
“But whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” JOHN 4:14
“Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” ROMANS 12:12
God is with us.
Author of HOPE IN THE STRUGGLE and Layla’s Light
All Rights Reserved
P.O. Box 669 Claremore, OK 74018
Facebook – Layla’s Light
Twitter – @laylaslight
Layla’s Devotional Book available for purchase at the following:
HOPE IN THE STRUGGLE – $9.95
AMAZON – Hope In the Struggle