You read, “…the joy of the Lord is your strength” Nehemiah 8:10 (NIV), and you wonder, how can I have that joy and courage during those over-stressed moments when I can’t take the pressure anymore? Or when the pain is so bad you don’t think you can make it through, and the devil “rips” your wounds deeper still. We “Look to the Lord and his strength; seek His face always” Psalm 105:4 (NIV), but then worry if He will come through.
Dear Friend, when I think of the pain or disappointments we experience, there is one thing I wish I could share: There really is a joy and strength from God that no unkind person or bad situation can touch, and it has saved me.
Going through hardship
I attended one of those smaller colleges that had the all-campus photo directory which allowed the students to add a quote with their information. One semester mine was ‘Jesus is my strength,’ which made me sound more serious than fun. But I chose it because in one weekend I lost a loved cousin. It felt like a best friend stabbed me in the back, and I still had to keep up with involved classes and a new internship while feeling very sick. I couldn’t have made it through it as well as I did without strength and insight from Jesus and the prayers of my family and friends.
I listened to song after song trying to process why my 22-year-old cousin had died by suicide. “Perfect Peace” by Laura Story (who has known hardship) was one song I kept coming back to. I really needed to hear it, and maybe today you do, too. What’s your go-to song of hope in Jesus? Once you find it, it’s time to share it.
I know what it is like to have to go through a time when I was not sure if I could make it, but I did because I knew Jesus. It still hurts to think that during my first time skiing at age nine, there would be an accident. A lot of lifelong pain and disappointments were dumped on me because of it. Now I can see Jesus bringing me through it.
When you can’t find Strength
I have a passion for reading books. In inspirational biographies, I am reminded that each life has points of good. After my accident, though, people would tell me, “Look at this news story: this person lost a leg, and still went on to do rock repelling. You can do the same.” But I couldn’t feel their strength because it was not my story.
The more I talk with people, the more I learn how each one has a burden, a pain that will most likely be lifelong. Maybe their loved one is dying or the surgery they had didn’t ease the pain. Each of us can embrace the reality of receiving the healing Jesus offers and still having to live through the pain until He returns to Earth.
Jesus is a forgiving, kind God who still asks us to trust Him when we are under bitter circumstances. He knocks on the walls you protect yourself with and wants the best for you, but it may look different from what you think it is.
How to find joy during difficult times
There is a difference between how long happiness lasts and joy lasts. One is from our Father who never changes. I believe we can feel multiple emotions at once: the circumstances do change how we feel, but the presence of Christ brings what is unchanging.
You will make it through this hard time because your story is not over yet. Jesus, the one who overcame death, will not forsake you, and someday will stop the horrible pain you go through.
I’m a super fan of volunteering because in uplifting others and letting God’s love reflect through you, you make your life and theirs a little brighter. We are better together when we focus on God and what’s positive.
I have stared death in the face when standing by the deathbeds of three people l loved—the three I couldn’t bring myself to say ‘goodbye’ to. Seeing my 27-year-old friend dying, with her husband and girls around her will forever break my heart, but I would do it all over again because I know God will wipe away my every tear and comfort me during those times.
Getting strength from God
Even when Jesus was in agony on the cross, He spoke to John to make sure His mother was taken care of. His Spirit is present with us now, and “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak” Isaiah 40:29 (NIV).
I still remember how during one of the hardest years for my family, my mom would read this text to us: “The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace” Psalm 29:11 (NIV). She believed this promise was true in Jesus, and it is.
There is another promise I have held onto at the end of some of my worst days: “…weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning” Psalm 30:5 (NIV). But what about when the joy doesn’t come in the morning? When the depression or fatigue is so overbearing.
Just as gravity affects you without you seeing it, you only experience it, so is the assistance that Jesus provides us.
You believe it when you don’t feel it, talk with Him to claim it, and then live a righteous life through Him.
Having faith in Jesus
Make the choice once more of praying, “I trust that one day the joy will come.” The only source of hope and peace, which gives strength, is Jesus. Praising Him is a choice to serve, even in pain, the One who really loves you. “But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble” Psalm 59:16 (NIV).
Speak this truth to yourself and those around you: “The Sovereign Lord is my strength…” Habakkuk 3:19 (NIV). We are alive because of Christ’s gift of life and can draw life from Him again by staying in a relationship with Him.
Most often God speaks to us through His Word, and we ask in prayer for our strength to come from Jesus. “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and He helps me…” Psalm 28:7 (NIV). Believe it, claim it, and live it because He is offering it.
Young professional Emily writes encouragement from a small, western town. Two of her main focuses are nonprofits and family. Her life is filled with caring for kids, mountain photography, facebook ministry, sweet pets, and finding humor. Knowing what it was like to go through a difficult accident, she frequently illustrates hope as a graphic designer and writer. She is inspired by the extravagant kindness of Jesus’ kingdom.