I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. – John 16:33 [ESV]
There are people on this earth who just exude joy. Even in the hardest of circumstances, they hold it together. They project an inner peace and calm and confidence in something beyond them. By all worldly standards, their situation should have them shaking in their boots. But… they keep on smiling, resolute and defiant in the face of opposition.
People like this used to befuddle me. I couldn’t figure them out. I could only come to conclusion as to the source of this seemingly inappropriate joy.
Thankfully, over the years God has shown me a few things through my own circumstances. I’ve had – still have – plenty of battles with anxiety, depression and worry. Do you mind if I share just a few thoughts on the subject of joy and troubles?
It’s Faith, Not Drugs
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. – Hebrews 11:1 [KJV]
Faith – that assurance in God in all things – is the substance, the thing that makes our hopes tangible. Not just some pie-in-the-sky dream, but reality. The NIV uses the word “confidence”. The ESV says “assurance”.
The Greek word for “substance” is ὑπόστασις (hupostasis). This term indicates faith is our very nourishment. It is by faith in God through Jesus that we grow.
It’s Faith, Not Human Perception
Simply put, we don’t know what we don’t know. Likewise, we don’t know what God knows. We are not omniscient, omnipotent or omnipresent. We do not know what will happen in ten seconds, let alone ten hours (or days or weeks or… you get the picture).
This is why we must learn to see through eyes of faith. We have to trust the Lord. We have to give Him our burdens and not take them back. We have to believe that, despite the circumstances we see and perceive, our situation is not hopeless. Our hope is in the Lord.
It’s Faith, Not Navel Gazing
The big problem with fear, anxiety and worry is the focus they bring. They cause us to look inward. We spin our wheels worrying about how we’ll fix this or that problem.
Worry and anxiety are unproductive at best. And, when we spin in the mud of doubt and fear, we just end up slinging filth and ick and burying ourselves in the mess.
Am I saying we should do nothing to fix the problems in our lives? Not at all. What I am saying is this:
- Go to God. Tell Him your troubles. Confess your doubts.
- Believe in God. It is in faith – the true reality of our lives – that we find joy, calm, peace and strength.
- Rest in God. Stop letting anxiety and worry call the shots.
- Go with God. Live your life without fear. Cast off the anxiety. Proceed with great confidence in the Lord, knowing in the deepest recesses of your soul that God loves you. He will guide you and care for you and see you through your trials.
As you walk through life, walk with God. Always. Stay in His Word. Pray without ceasing. Make the Lord your first priority – not your worries. Focus on God. Find your nourishment though faith in Jesus. Set aside the fear and anxiety. And, when the self defeating thoughts come, stop. Set them aside. Go to God, in faith, knowing you are safe in His very capable hands.
And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:7 [KJV]