Summary: Is it possible to experience great joy in the midst of sufferings?
"But the angel said to them, ’Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people’" (Luke 2:10, NIV).
Is it possible for God’s people to experience great joy in the midst of difficulty and pain?
Similar words are found in various passages in the Bible. In Revelation 1:17, Jesus told John: "When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: ’DO NOT BE AFRAID. I am the First and the Last...’"
When Jesus was still with His disciples here on earth, "when they saw him walking on the lake, they thought he was a ghost...he spoke to them and said, ’Take courage! It is I. DON’T BE AFRAID’" (Mark 6:49-50).
He told also His followers in Luke 12:32, "DO NOT BE AFRAID, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom."
We read also the account in Mark 5:35-36,"While Jesus was still speaking, some men came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue ruler. ’Your daughter is dead,’ they said. ’Why bother the teacher any more?’ Ignoring what they said, Jesus told the synagogue ruler, ’DON’T BE AFRAID; just believe."
And in the Old Testament, we read these words in the New American Standard Version: "DO NOT BE AFRAID, O Zion; Do not let your hands fall limp. The LORD your God is in your midst, A victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy, He will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy" (Zeph. 3:16-17).
In Luke 2, verse 10-11, we are told NOT to be afraid, because the messenger brings "good news of great joy..." -- "a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord."
Let’s compare this passage with Acts 14:15-17. Paul and Barnabas told the people, "We are bringing good news..."
They were "telling... (them) to turn from these worthless things to the living God (see Acts 3:26).
Further, they said that this "living God" made heaven and earth and sea and everything in the.
Also, "In the past, he let all nations go their own way." And this God, "has not let left himself without testimony: He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food..."
Paul described this God more in Acts 17:24-31. This God who gives all men "everything else" -- does not refer only to physical or material things. If we will finish verse 17 of Acts 14, it says, God "FILLS YOUR HEARTS WITH JOY"!
We read also in Psalm 4:7-8, "You have filled my heart with greater joy than when their grain and new wine abound. I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety."
God does not want his children to be afraid, to fear, to troubled, or to suffer anxiety. He wants their hearts to be filled with joy!
The Apostle John wrote, "We write this to make our joy complete." God’s Word does not want our joy to be "half-baked" -- but COMPLETE or to the full.
Jesus Himself said, "As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete" (John 15:9-11).
It was also His desire that our joy is not only complete, but it should not depart from us. We read His Words in John 16:22, "So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy."
The problem of human beings is that their joy is not complete. It is always taken away from them.
They are looking, or basing their joy on the wrong way.
It is not the earthly, or physical things that will bring us comple and evelasting joy. It is not the intention of God to ground our joy on those things -- not matter how desirable they may be.
Jesus even told His disciples not to be so happy with their spiritual accomplishments. We read in Luke 10:20, "However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven."
Real joy could be realized through faith. Faith in God.
Complete joy and joy that will not be taken away is possible only in God and in His Word through His Spirit.