How To Find God’s Joy In Suffering?

I have had the privilege of speaking to singles group at a conference in June 2014 in Turkey. I was blessed to do a study on God’s Joy under every circumstances. As I share what I have learned from this study, I do so not as somebody who has mastered it but rather as a person who stumbles, struggles and falls, then gets up by the grace of God. May these Scriptures encourage you as they have encouraged me. Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight yourself in the LORD and He shall give you the desires of your heart.” Delight means “A high degree of pleasure or enjoyment, joy.” Something that gives us great pleasure! Delighting ourselves means that we find our happiness from Him as we operate in how He created us! ‘The desires of the heart” means that God has not promised to gratify the appetites of the body, but the desires of the renewed, sanctified soul. As we keep Him as the center of our lives, he fulfills the desires we have in His time. Waiting for His timing is not easy! We have all experienced it one way or another. I learned a lot through king David’s life. Psalm 63:1-2, 3,5 ““O God, you are my God; I earnestly search for you. My soul thirsts for you; my whole body longs for you. I have seen you in your sanctuary and gazed upon your power and glory. Your unfailing love is better than life itself; how I praise you! You satisfy me more than the richest feast. I will praise you with songs of joy.” David questions God through the book of Psalms yet he always ends with who God is. He turns from why or why me to who God is. In this particular Psalm 63, he is either fleeing from Saul who tried to kill him in 1 Sam 23:14: “David now stayed in the strongholds of the wilderness and in the hill country of Ziph (near Negev). Saul hunted him day after day, but God didn’t let Saul find him.” Or to Absalom’s plot against his father David (2Sam 15-17). David thirsts for God, desires intimate fellowship despite his trials in the wilderness living in the caves while running for his life. Every true believer experiences trouble in their souls. Whether it’s sickness, a hard relationship, loss of a loved one… But as David, we too can find joy in the midst of our struggles. Where do we turn to? Without understanding who God really is we cannot turn to Him in faith. We cannot love Him and understand His affection for us as described in Phil 1:8. His agape love that is passionate, burning love for us. I do not where you are at in your life. But I would like to leave you with these questions. What is troubling you right now? Are you bringing it to God? Sharing it in your community group? Is He enough even in the face of suffering, hardship, loss, or waiting? Or do you turn to unbelief or bitterness?
I will continue on this topic with more Scriptures in the days to come. God bless you and strengthen you and give you peace like a gentle river! (Isaiah 48:18)