Joy Regardless Of Circumstances

December 26, 2012

Accept, Faith At Home, Parenting

SpecialFriendsLogoBTR“Without exception…all try their hardest to reach the same goal, that is, joy.”  St. Augustine

It is easy to think “If I could just get a new car, a bigger house, a better job, or more money, then I’ll be happy.” We tend to view happiness as a commodity attainable by wealth. However, as the old saying goes, “money cannot buy happiness.”

Indeed, no amount of money or things will ever give you lasting joy or contentment; that’s because joy and contentment are not based on circumstances. Therefore, if you’re not content with what you have, you won’t be content with what you want.

Although at first it may seem difficult, it is very possible to be content even during harsh circumstances. Paul said, in Philippians 4:11-12, “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.”

In those two verses, Paul is saying that he could be content—that is, have joy—regardless of his circumstances. Joy should not be dependent on circumstances; it should be present regardless of them.

When Paul said that he could be content “in any and every situation,” he truly meant everything—even the tough times of testing. In 2 Corinthians 11:24-27, he lists some of the tough times that he has endured: “Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked.”

Even in all these things, Paul had “learned to be content.” Clearly, it’s not our circumstances that steal our joy. You, too, can learn “to be content whatever the circumstances.”

Stop thinking that you will have joy after your nonverbal son starts to speak, after you find enough money to supplement your daughter’s PT, after you find a respite provider, after your son quits having daily meltdowns, after your family or friends finally gets a clue about how exhausted and frustrated you are.  Don’t put off joy until after these things go your way.  They may or may not.  Decide to have joy now! For you can have joy whatever the circumstances!

I was reading this morning the words of Dwight Hill on the subject of joy. He wrote,

“Joy is not an emotion we can rev up. Rather it is centered in our choice to obey God. The result? A supernaturally produced emotion which is the fruit of walking in the Spirit: “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace …” (Gal. 5:22a) True biblically based joy produces in us a settled confidence in the future,grounded on our trust in God’s purposes and power. We know we possess this joy when our lives are liberated from fear because of our abiding relationship with God who is eternal and unshakeable. Consider: You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence” (Psa. 16:11)

I thought to myself that he nailed it. I have joy in the midst of any circumstance because of my confidence and trust in Him and His purposes. I am a father of several boys on the autism spectrum.  Two of them severe.  And I have a choice in how I view my life.  I can view it as a “jail sentence,” or I can walk each day trusting in His purposes and power for my life…and for my boys.

Joy is the result of His presence and His Spirit within us. Joy is the result of my trust in Jesus and His direction for my life. I am confident that He knew that I would have boys diagnosed on the autism spectrum.  He is not surprised but has a sovereign plan for each day of my life…and theirs.  My responsibility is to stay on His pathway and within the circle of His blessing by making right choices. What a joy to know that He is with me in every circumstance and season of life. Whatever I face He is there with me through the process.  In every circumstance He is right there with us.

My prayer for YOU is that you will experience that same joy in your life. Are you trusting the Lord for the details of your life this week?  This day?  This hour?  Regardless of the circumstances you are facing, you can have His joy.

Michael Woods

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About Michael Woods

Christ-follower, husband, chocoholic, and peanut-butter lover! I'm a father to triplet boys...each on the autism spectrum.

View all posts by Michael Woods

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2 Comments on “Joy Regardless Of Circumstances”

  1. SNAPPIN' MINISTRIES Says:

    After a very wearisome month, I really needed to hear this today. Thank you, my friend!

    Reply

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