Finding Joy in Hard Times

Author: Wesley Jank
The world has gone through some incredible changes over the last few months.

The Virus.

The economic shutdown.

The social distancing.

These are troubling times. Anxiety has gripped the nations as we (collectively) search for the proverbial, silver bullet to end this madness.

But despite the uncertainty reigning in our world, there are fundamental truths that, as believers, we need to understand. As I've grappled with this global pandemic, the Holy Spirit brought my attention to the book of Philippians.

Our lives can feel suffocating as many of the things we enjoyed doing are no longer legal (for example, going on a hike in our favorite national park). Still, these feelings of uncertainty and isolation are not unique to our generation.

Throughout history, God's people have endured persecution, isolation and yes, plagues. Consider the book of Philippians, written by the Apostle Paul. It is a book that focuses on joy. The irony is found in that Paul's audience was experiencing persecution. Paul, himself, was under house arrest (something many of us can now relate to). And yet despite these things, Paul points the believer to JOY.

Philippians is an incredible book and incredibly crucial for the modern believer. I encourage anyone reading this article to take the time and read through the book of Philippians. It's short (only four chapters), but it's packed with so much truth!

So, without further ado, here are three insights Paul gives the believer going through hard times.

  1. God is working in you

Paul writes, "And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns."

The people of Philippi were being persecuted. Yet Paul reminds them that despite the chaos, God is at work in their lives. In the middle of whatever tragedy, the believer goes through God is building and transforming His people into the image of His Son. Take comfort in that fact. Find joy in the knowledge that God uses even hard situations (especially hard situations) to shape you into the likeness of Jesus.

     2. Encouragement in Christ

Paul adds, "Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love?"

We are living through strange times. Many people have been affected by this virus, and it's easy to be fearful of what's coming. But as believers and members of the Body of Christ, we have access to supernatural peace. WE belong to Christ. Whatever the economy does, whatever happens in our world and our communities, this fundamental truth about us can never be taken away.

     3. Our future is ETERNITY.

Paul declared, "No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us."

It's so easy to get caught up in our circumstances. To spend hours consuming the news, but here is the reality: our future isn't here! This virus can't take away what God has promised us. The world is watching. Are we living like people who have hope beyond this pandemic? Let's adapt the apostle Paul's thinking and make our minds tough for the task that lies ahead. God is calling us to walk with Him through whatever our future is until the day when God calls us home.

For more encouragement, be sure to read through the book of Philippians.
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