Joy in Times of Trouble


Today I’m excited to introduce you to my dear friend and right hand in ministry, Juliet Sharrow. Juliet has faced difficulties in her life that would break many people, and yet one word comes to mind when I think of this sister: joy. The smile that illuminates her face and shines through her eyes bears witness to the all-powerful, transforming life that is found in Jesus. Juliet shared at a women’s event at our church recently, and today she shares some of those thoughts with you. May her words provide hope as you face your own difficulty. Be blessed, dear one.


Joy in Times of Trouble

By Juliet Sharrow

Does trouble seem to FIND you? Do you feel like you can't avoid it no matter how hard you try?

I think it's safe to say we've all been in situations that have caused us distress or pain.  We've all had difficulty.

Maybe you can relate to some of mine. I was rejected by my biological father and unloved by my adoptive father.  I suffered physical abuse in a bad relationship and became a mother to a child with special needs. I’ve battled depression forever and have even attempted suicide. We struggled financially for years after my husband and I both lost our jobs… The list goes on.

For years I felt like my life was one painful event after another, like I must be doing something wrong or I was being punished. So, I decided to see what the Bible had to say about trouble.

You know what I found?  In John 16:33 it says…

"In this world you will have trouble."

This is Jesus speaking, saying that we will have trouble—not that we might, but that we will!  Wow. That hit home.  Instead of seeing all my trials as punishment, I realized they are a normal part of life!

Then I read 2 Corinthians 4:17.

"For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all."

Well, I don't know about you, but my troubles have never seemed light and momentary to me!

But what if we allowed God to change our perspective? If we could see our suffering from His view point—in light of eternity—we would see how truly small and insignificant they are.   

Try to think of the biggest problem you had when you were 18.  Can you even remember what it was?  Do you remember the outcome?  As you look back, most of what you perceived as unbearable trouble has likely faded from your memory.  And 20 years from now, many of the problems you face today will long be forgotten. 

2 Corinthians 4:18 gives us a key to help keep our perspective.

"So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but what is unseen. For what is seen is Temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."

Through most of my hardships, I was fixing my eyes on what is temporary and seen: the problem itself.  Despair often overwhelmed me and I felt emptied of hope.

I should have been fixing them on the eternal—the unseen—Christ himself. When we shift our eyes from the trouble and instead focus on Jesus, He will change our perspective and revive our souls.

You can't let your troubles define you or dictate your expectations of what lies ahead. You have to stop focusing on your problems and instead concentrate on Jesus.

Through all of this, I’ve learned that I am not meant to have peace and joy apart from troubles and trials. However, I can experience joy and peace in the midst of them.

As I focus on Jesus and spend time in His presence, He reminds me that He is in control. He’s on top of the situation, so I don't have to be, and that fills me with peace.  Then as His peace settles on me, I feel joy overflow from the knowledge that I don't have to do anything but focus on Him. It’s His job to do the rest!

What are you going to do with your trouble? Will you allow Him to use the trouble that comes your way to mold you into the person He created you to be, or will you let it make you bitter? Will you cling to your suffering and wear it as a badge of honor, or will you cling to Jesus?  Will you allow Him to use your pain for His glory? Will you be thankful, even in this, knowing He’s working glory in you? 

I know this is hard when you’re in the midst of suffering, but Jesus gave us another promise in John 16:33, ". . . take heart! I have overcome the world."

Jesus has overcome the world, so you don't have to.  You just need to keep your focus on Him no matter what and allow Him to triumph over your mess.

And, you can rest in knowing the best part of your life lies ahead, stored up for you in heaven, awaiting your arrival. Let this hope give you courage to keep holding your head high as you endure suffering and sorrow in this life.

"For blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God promised.” James 1:12

Did you get that? We are blessed when we persevere.  We are meant to stand the test and receive crowns in Heaven for our perseverance. That represents our eternal reward!

One of my favorite verses in the Bible contains a promise that I cling to during difficult times.

"He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death, or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." Revelation 21:4

I await the day when there will be no more crying or pain, but until then, I want to glorify my God in the midst of trouble.  I want to have joy in the suffering.  I want to be thankful for the trials.  And I want to persevere so I can claim my eternal reward!