This last week, I was studying for a coffee chat that I was giving on how to handle hard times and still have joy. Wow! What a tough lesson to learn! We know it is the right behavior to have joy at all times, but I don’t about you, it doesn’t make it any easier to walk out. But in Ecclesiastes 3:12 it says, “There is nothing better…then to be happy and do good.” What are the things that bring you joy, peace and hope? Do you work at making them happen yourself or do they “just happen”? I have learned to cultivate my joy by what I do on a daily basis.
And Peter tells us that suffering teaches us to be done with sin and to live for God’s purposes rather than our own pleasures and evil desires. (I Peter 4:1-5) Why does Peter say that do you think? From my experience, when I am going through hard times and it just doesn’t seem to change, I have to give up what I might be expecting to happen and be real about what is. When I give that up, I am more free to live my life how God wants to me live. I am living in what is now, rather than what I think should be. Now I can say that and work toward it, but that doesn’t mean its going to be easy. How I handle my emotions in the midst of the crisis is what can keep me from big disappointments. We have to have the right mental outlook toward it. God has all things planned for us and so we need to stick to Him and walk through it together. God says he disciplines those He loves in Hebrews 12:6. So we arm ourselves with the armor of God and become a warrior! Sometimes the pain we go through because of the crisis will heighten our awareness in other areas of our lives too. So what can we do? Go to prayer. Sometimes the first thing we do is get mad and then we separate ourselves from God and pull away. Don’t stop helping others, or stop teaching or leading. But instead, go to Him and ask Him if there is anything you need to change, get right, or deal with. Ask God, “What do you want me to do?” Get in the Word and see what He wants to give you. In conclusion, guard your mind and behavior, life is short, do something for another person, and give God glory in spite of what you are going through. It’s pretty hard for satan to get an inroad when you are praising your Lord and Savior! Do we always FEEL like doing that? Nope. But it sure is the best way to end the cycle of discouragement and confusion that satan likes to keep us on.
I have a project called JoAnn’s Photoscapes 365 Project that I have been doing on Facebook, where I post a photo a day there and often times write what God is teaching me through that photo. After going through my own hard times, God led me to the study about His grace in hard times. In doing so, a phrase popped out at me and it seemed clear God wanted me to change my project name to Life Through A Different Lens. I think that is how God wants us to look at things; through a different lens. He wants our situations to be viewed through HIS LENS, HIS FOCUS, and HIS COLORS. I am doing that through my experiences. So I hope this encourages you to do the same. Get out that camera of His, the Bible, and look through and read it with His lens instead of yours. See what beautiful photography He makes with you! God bless.