Recently I heard someone say, “Happiness is defined by the facts. Joy is defined by the truth. The facts don’t always convey the truth! The doctor’s report is bad. The stock market has tanked, a loved one has been attacked, or someone in your life is making choices that cause you immense pain.
Look at Abraham and Sarah – they were old when God promised them a child. The truth God gave them was given to them at an age when they were completely incapable of producing a child. Still…Abraham believed God. Move ahead 25 years. Now what? No baby and the facts are even worse…Abraham and Sarah are 25 years older. But the Bible says Abraham’s faith never wavered.
Why? Abraham trusted in God’s truth rather than the facts that were in front of him.
The facts in my situation or your situation may not indicate that happy times are ahead. So how do we have joy no matter what? You put your faith, not in the facts in front of you, but in the truth and in the promises of God.”
But what if the truth and promises of God seem like they haven’t proven true? What if you prayed for protection and you weren’t protected from something horrible? What if you were abused and hurt beyond belief? What if you prayed for wisdom for your finances and now your finances are in a mess? You prayed for your child and he or she has abandoned God and everything you hold dear?
Maybe you can’t pray with faith. Maybe all you can do is ask God to give you something…anything to hang on to. Recently, during some very painful of times, God gave me the ability to hang on to the Trustworthiness of God. That’s it. I had nothing else. The facts were horrendous. It didn’t look like God had protected. For you, too, it may look like He didn’t answer, He wasn’t faithful, He didn’t protect. But despite all you might have experienced, despite how raw the pain and the disillusionment about what He didn’t protect you from, you can choose to hang on by your fingernails to the TRUTH that our God is a Trustworthy God.
By hanging on to that TRUTH, you will be able to take one painful step at a time, despite the devastation. If only a tiny spark, you will have a measure of hope (or assurance) because you will know for certain that He will get you through…He is on your side.
At some point, there will be a tiny spark of joy because despite it all, you are beginning to hope that He will use this excruciating circumstance to produce in you a kind of strength that you have desperately needed.
He will redeem what the enemy has tried to destroy. He will bring beauty from the ashes. He will create good in your life out of the evil. With Joseph, you will say…
“You meant this for evil but my God will use it for good” and…for joy!
Genesis 50:20 (MSG) 20 Don’t you see, you planned evil against me but God used those same plans for my good, as you see all around you right now—life [JOY] for many people.