Experiencing Joy in the Midst of Suffering

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Rejoice in hope, endure in suffering, persist in prayer. (Romans 12:12, NET Bible)

One of my favorite things about my relationship with the Lord is the JOY that He gives me; the joy that I feel coursing through my veins; joy that is palpable and evident and real.  It is His joy and I am so thankful to Him that He shares it with me.

I appreciate it so much more when it is felt during times of difficulty, pain and suffering.  At times like this, His joy makes me want to rejoice! 😄

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! (Philippians 4:4, NASB)

I am reminded of Corrie Ten Boom’s book, The Hiding Place, in which Corrie eloquently describes the dual-existence of joy in the midst of suffering.  In this true story that is a “must-read,” you’ll learn that Corrie, her sister Betsie, and their elderly father were all arrested and sent to prison for hiding a group of Jewish people in their home during the Nazi occupation of Holland. Soon after their father’s untimely death, Corrie and Betsie spent time in the notorious women’s concentration camp, Ravensbruck.

“Life in Ravensbruck took place on two separate levels, mutually impossible. One, the observable, external life, grew every day more horrible. The other, the life we lived with God, grew daily better, truth upon truth, glory upon glory.”  ― Corrie ten Boom, The Hiding Place: The Triumphant True Story of Corrie Ten Boom

Such a marvelous book! ❤️😁

The Ten Boom family could see the true light in the midst of this dark world.  And as their brothers and sisters, as Jesus followers, as believers in the gospel of grace, we also know the truth!

The truth has set us free, and yet we are stuck on this earth temporarily.  So, while we are here, let’s be patient; let’s hang in there; let’s not give up.

We all have pain, we all have suffering, and we all have difficulties to varying degrees.  But we also have hope.  Not only the hope of our future life in heaven, but the hope that is alive for us today:  the kingdom of God in our very hearts.  A hope with promise; that when we have persevered through tribulations, God will use the pain we have endured to reveal more of His love to us!

“And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” (Romans 5:3-5 NASB)

How can we draw near to God?

You will begin drawing near to Him after you realize that He is totally pleased with you. Once you realize that you are a completely forgiven person.  You will draw near to Him because He is your Savior, and your friend, and your life.

“Let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.” (Hebrews 10:22)

Believers in Jesus Christ:  God has no expectations of you.  He has already done all of the work Himself; there is nothing left to do; He is not only the Lord of the Sabbath, He is the fulfillment of the Sabbath:  He is the Sabbath Day rest.

You have believed in the gospel, you have been born again of the Spirit, you have been made into a new creation in Christ… now rest!  Rest in Jesus the Sabbath; rest and relax in the Promised Land of peace.

Draw near to God knowing that He does not hold your sins against you.  He really is “love.”  We all know that 1 John says that “God is love.”  Draw near to Him who is love, and you will find that ‘He’ is what has been missing from your life.  And He is not second-best.  He is not “the consolation prize,” as Aaron Budjen says.

Aaron has a radio teaching ministry, and a website from which you can download all of his broadcasts for free.  Scroll down to the bottom section of his radio archive page to find his excellent series on the book of Hebrews.

This 27-minute message from that series will help you to grasp the complete forgiveness of sins that is yours in Christ.  You must grasp this basic, fundamental issue of your relationship with Jesus Christ in order to grow in grace and in the knowledge of your Lord.

And as you grow in grace and in the knowledge of your Lord Jesus Christ, you will draw near to Him.

God eagerly desires your fellowship and your friendship.  And what an amazing thing to look up at the sky and the mountains, to “consider the lilies and how they grow”, and to realize that the God who created all things, the everlasting God of the universe, is the One who dwells inside of you because of your faith in His gospel.

Draw near to Him today — your Creator, your God, and your friend.