Joy and Pain | Philippians

Tough times often feel like a test of our faith and tenacity. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and discouraged, but it’s worth it to choose joy in the middle of pain, even when it doesn’t make sense. Choosing joy doesn’t deny the struggle, it demonstrates a growing trust in God’s greater plan. A significant and often surprising part of that plan is that God chooses you to accomplish that divine plan.

Ordinary people and ordinary circumstances are the key players and key settings for God’s extraordinary work. Throughout bible history, we see numerous examples of God using ordinary people in His story of redemption. God doesn’t just use pastors, missionaries, and church leaders to get it done. Finding joy starts with an awareness of the significance of who you are to God. Valuable. God uses who you are, and what you go through to bring you closer to Him. That’s the plan! To get people closer to a relationship with Him. And to accomplish that it takes more than win after win. It often takes times of total dependency and even struggle. Challenge yourself to change your perspective on what feels like a setback, and see it as a setup to get closer to God.

So is that all this is about?  No.


Your joy encourages others not to give up. Finding joy during tough times is a powerful testimony to the strength and hope found in Jesus Christ. When we choose to remain joyful despite our circumstances, we demonstrate that faith has the ability to go beyond what feels urgent. This doesn’t mean pretending everything is fine.  Instead, it means trusting God’s power and His goodness, believing that he will work all things together for good. Your joy in hardship will inspire others that peace is an option, even in the darkest times.

So how do you live this out daily?
  1. Embrace your identity through Christ. All of who you are is designed by God. Your quirks, your talents, your victories, and your losses. That’s wild…my losses? Yes, even your losses. Embrace that every loss is an opportunity to grow stronger and closer to Christ Jesus. Learn more about Jesus here.
  2. Cultivate joy. This means you often have to work at it. Make a conscious effort to put a smile on your face when you don’t feel like it. It will boost your hormones, your emotions, and your perspective. Spend time in prayer and read some of the book of Psalms. Try reading Psalms 23. When you surround yourself with positive influences, you’ll be reminded of God’s goodness.
  3. Get involved in the local church. Community is a gift whereas loneliness is a curse. God tells us he places the lonely in families and gives them joy. Find a small group where you can gather and grow as you build relationships with other like minded people. It will strengthen your faith and help you develop a support system to encourage you through tough times.

By working towards embracing who you are and the life God has designed for you, you build the perspective to find joy when life hands you tough times. It will not just bring you closer to others, it will bring you closer to Christ Jesus.