"Our greatest trouble may become our advantage by entitling us to a new manner of the divine presence," stated E. E. Shelhammer. How true! Several weeks after my mother passed away, I decided to fix her favorite orange cake. The last time I had fixed this recipe, I did it especially for her. Suddenly, standing at the kitchen table dumping ingredients, I had a deep sadness. But only for a moment. She's eating something so much better now! The thought came with great joy.
Here is the paradox of our life in Christ: human sorrow can be overcome by joy in the Holy Spirit. Paul wrote, "In all our troubles my joy knows no bounds" (2 Corinthians 7:4).
The Spirit's joy enabling us to victoriously overcome difficult circumstances will often be the fruit of the Spirit that reveals Christ to others. The Spirit-filled Christians in Acts were "praising God and having favor with all the people." There is often a correlation between our Spirit-filled joyfulness and our influence upon others.
Notice what the Hebrew Christians were congratulated for taking joyfully: "When all you owned was taken from you, you accepted it with joy. You knew you had better things waiting for you in eternity" (Hebrews 10:34). Their joy transcended their circumstances because they maintained their faith and confidence that their God was good and in control.
Thank You, Jesus, that the joy You give is often the most evident when I'm in difficult times.
"In thy presence is fullness of joy" (Psalm 16:11).