Are you in a hard season of life? I am. This season just won’t end. Sometimes the hard trials are expected but more often they catch us unaware. But Friend, rest assured Hard Seasons and Trials do not have to catch us unprepared. We can Cling to the Joy of the Lord in any situation – Every Day!
The bible talks about Joy over 180 times and most of those reference Joy in Trials.
I’ve gone through a lot of trials and hard seasons in my life, but I usually fail at keeping Joy or counting it all Joy as James 1:2 instructs.
This season, in particular, has been harder than I can handle. Honestly, it seems like there has been one trial after another trial for the past 4 or 5 years.
In the beginning, I was very steadfast to be in the word and in prayer – fighting back against the enemy as attack after attack came at me and our family. When it seemed too hard to bear I would reach out to my sweet sisters in prayer knowing they were fighting where I couldn’t.
There have been victories where I’ve given God all the glory because they were all Him.
Then this January God began to put a word in my heart. Joy – The Joy of the Lord
I didn’t understand or know what to do with that word. Do you ever get that from Him?
Some people get all excited about a word for their Year but it just sat funny with me. I hadn’t prayed for or asked for a Word for the year… and things were already hard. A New word would mean more to learn – and learning with God is often hard.
Honestly, I have a MO for how I handle Hard things. I pray, I hope, and I distract myself – and repeat.
I didn’t see any room for The word Joy in my cycle – a cycle which has worked for me for years I might add.
So as I pressed into God about this word Joy and The Joy of the Lord I expected hard…
I had a skewed understanding of Joy
I imagine the little-animated girl from the movie inside out – bubbly, energetic, always optimistic. Joy had been confused by the emotion Happiness, which is pretty common. Even the dictionary ties Happiness and Joy together. To read more about that click Here
As the months wore on – and God was persistent – I began asking questions and taking those questions to the scripture for answers.
1. What is Joy?
As I opened the scripture I was surprised to see Joy mentioned over 180 times. Biblical Joy is this amazing gift that equips us to shine light into our dark world. (To read more about that click Here)
These 10 Attributes of Joy really stuck with me.
Biblical Joy Is:
- A Spiritual Gift – Galatians 5:22
- A State of being we reach as believers when we fix our eyes on Jesus – Luke 6:22-23
- An Expression of Worship – Psalm 47:1
- The result of a heart confident in God and Eternity – Ecclesiastes 9:7; Psalm 28:7; 1 Peter 1:8-9
- Strength the Lord gives even in trials and Grief- Nehemiah 8:10; 1 Peter 1:6-8; Psalm 30:11; Psalm 126:5 & 2 Corinthians 6:10
- Joy comes when we are refreshed with love from others- Philemon 1:7
- An everlasting heart condition for Christians – Isaiah 35:10
- A Character Trait of Jesus as he endured the Cross – Hebrews 12:2
- It comes when we seek refuge in God in every season – Psalm 34:8
- Obedience to God brings Joy – Psalm 19:8 & Psalm 119:1-3
Is Joy missing in your life? Need a guide to help get it back? I’d love to give you this Free 30 Day Reading Guide to help.
2. Where Does Joy Come From?
Nehemiah 8:10 Do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.
This passage is one filled with Joy and Sorrow as the Israelites realized they had been disobedient to God (in ignorance of His Law) for years. It tells us that Joy is an aspect of who God is…
The Joy of the Lord lives inside of us because we have the Holy Spirit living inside of us and He is Joy.
Romans 14:17 and Romans 15:13 tells us Joy is something that comes from Salvation and having a Kingdom Mentality
Psalm 16:11 You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy;
1 Chronicles 16:27 Splendor and majesty are before Him, Strength and joy are in His place.
There is Joy for us when we are in God’s presence – because He is Joy.
2 Corinthians 6:10 tells us there is Joy when we are in Ministry – serving God and others bring Joy.
Psalm 4:7 You have put gladness [Joy] in my heart,
God actually puts Joy in us and we can ask Him to fill us afresh with His Spirit anytime.
Hands down Joy comes from God. Joy is God. We have access to Joy because we have access to God who is the Joy of the Lord.
3. How do I keep Joy when trials turn into hard seasons that seem to never leave?
When Trials come we can do more than just Hope in the Lord, we can rest in His presence and be filled with Joy. It’s easy to be weighed down by the trials all around me. Depression, fear, sadness, and anxiety knock at the door daily. To keep Joy through trials and hard seasons We have to be intentional.
Isaiah 26:3 tells us to Keep our eyes fixed on God and He will be our strength and peace.
How can we keep our eyes fixed on God? Focus on Him rather than the trials!
Its easy for my quiet time to become me focused or task focused – just checking off one more thing. What if we shifted that time to a time where we just sit in His presence and get to know Him better.
What better way to know someone than to know their name?
Names of God are attributes of His character that biblical figures cried out to and claimed as promises when life got too hard. Because God is faithful and unchanging we can also learn these names, cry out to Him with them and believe Him to faithfully be Himself and answer our Prayer.
I’d love to give you a set of these Bookmarks.
Below are 11 Names of God that I cling to When Trials Turn into Hard seasons (Click here for how to Pronounce them)
El Shaddai – Almighty, All-Sufficient God
- Genesis 49:25 – From the God of your father who helps you, And by the Almighty who blesses you With blessings of heaven above, Blessings of the deep that lies beneath, Blessings of the breasts and of the womb.
Jehovah Ga’al – The LORD our Redeemer (Read More)
- Psalm 19:14– Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my rock, and my Redeemer.
Jehovah El Elohim The LORD, Mighty, Powerful, Strong
- Jeremiah 32:27 “Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh; is anything too difficult for Me?”
Elohei Mikkarov – God who is Near (Read More)
- Psalm 145:18 – The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, To all who call upon Him in truth.
Jehovah Mephalti – The LORD my Deliverer
- Psalm 18:2 – The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
Jehovah Machsi – the LORD My Refuge (Read More)
- Psalm 46:1 – God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble.
Jehovah Jireh – The LORD Will Provide (Read More)
- Philippians 4:19 And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
Jehovah Rophe – The LORD our Healer (Read More)
- Ps 103:2-3 Bless the Lord, O my soul, And forget none of His benefits; 3 Who pardons all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases
Jehovah Shalom – the LORD our Peace (Read More)
- Isaiah 26:3 “The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace Because he trusts in You.
Immanuel – God with us (Read More)
- Isaiah 41:10 – Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’
Jehovah Gibbor Milchamah – The LORD Mighty in Battle
- Psalm 24:8 Who is the King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, The Lord mighty in battle.
4. Finally, I asked, “God, Why Joy?”.
It’s a beautiful thing the way God knows what is going to happen. He sees how hard things are going to be and knows best how to prepare us for those seasons!
Will you join me in praying for Joy and claiming the Names of God?