“I hate you, I hate you, I hate you!” I shouted as I tore up the bed and threw pillows.
Yes, those words came out of my mouth. And those pillows flew out of my hands. And no, I wasn’t a hormonal teenager trying to shock my parents, but a full-grown adult who found herself married to a man she didn’t love.
I lived in a marriage that brought a lot of heartache and pain. There were moments of happiness and good times, but I had lost the joy I should have had as a Christian. I totally forgot what Romans 15 teaches: May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
I’d lost hope, joy, and peace in my circumstances. For years I chose to focus on me. God would have given me joy in the midst of my pain had I chosen to end my pity party sooner. Twelve years into our marriage, the shift in focus went from, “I’m so miserable because my husband is not what I thought he’d be,” to “Lord, how can I be the person Dave needs me to be for him to experience joy.”
Imagine finding anything to be joyful about in the damp, dark, murky dungeon Paul found himself in as he and Silas praised God. They focused on Jesus and His promises, while we often choose to put our focus inward. That will be a determining factor in whether or not we experience joy.
God is a God of hope. No matter what circumstances you face, be it an unhappy marriage or waiting for an answer for your situation, you can expect with confidence that God is working. It’s human for us to feel sad, depressed, and scared when we face hardships and darkness. But God wants us to be filled with joy and hope in our overwhelming circumstances. He even wants us to praise Him in the midst of them.
Imagine sensing hope for the first time in a long time over the very thing you face now. Let the Holy Spirit work in you. Surrender to Him. Determine to change your focus from your circumstances to a God who loves you and wants you to overflow with joy. There is happiness in the Lord.
(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)
(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)