Hardship That Is Meant for Joy
Sometimes our hardships are meant for joy. However, we can easily lose our sense of joy when looking at our circumstances from a selfish perspective. When things don’t seem to go our way, we ask, “Why me Lord?” At times, the answer is: “It is meant for your good and ultimate joy.”
Consider the arrest of the Apostle Paul and his subsequent transport to Rome. Paul’s desired to proclaim the gospel in Rome. Then, God provided an all-expense paid trip to Rome courtesy of the Roman government. As a result, Paul received audiences with King Herod, Felix (the Governor of Judea), Festus (an emissary of Caesar), and Caesar himself. God provides for those who He calls to proclaim the gospel. In other words, what men meant for harm to Paul became good and joyous because Christ was being glorified.
Notes: Sermon available for online listening until April 5th, 2020. To view more sermons, visit our Sermon Archive.
Finding Joy in the Swamp
Remember the old proverb:
When you are up to your neck in alligators, it’s easy to forget that the goal was to drain the swamp.
It’s so easy to be so overcome or preoccupied by various tangential worries, problems, or tasks that one loses sight of the ultimate goal or objective in life, and loses their joy also.
Our Sermon focuses on the Apostle Paul and the trials he endured to bring about the plan of the Lord. Paul could have spent his time complaining. However, he chose to see how God was using him to bring a great and eternal outcome.
Remember also the story of Joseph being sold into slavery in Egypt. God had a wonderful plan to reunite Joseph with his family. The temporary discomfort Joseph was in brought on by his own brothers was summed up in the last few verses of Genesis chapter 50:
Thus his sons did for him as he had charged them; for his sons carried him to the land of Canaan and buried him in the cave of the field of Machpelah before Mamre, which Abraham had bought along with the field for a burial site from Ephron the Hittite. After he had buried his father, Joseph returned to Egypt, he and his brothers, and all who had gone up with him to bury his father.
When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “What if Joseph bears a grudge against us and pays us back in full for all the wrong which we did to him!” So they sent a message to Joseph, saying, “Your father charged before he died, saying, ‘Thus you shall say to Joseph, “Please forgive, I beg you, the transgression of your brothers and their sin, for they did you wrong.”’ And now, please forgive the transgression of the servants of the God of your father.”
And Joseph wept when they spoke to him. Then his brothers also came and fell down before him and said, “Behold, we are your servants.” But Joseph said to them, “Do not be afraid, for am I in God’s place? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive. So therefore, do not be afraid; I will provide for you and your little ones.” So he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.Genesis 50:12-21
Stop focusing on the trials before you and look at it from the eyes of the Lord. There is an eternal story within everything and a joy that follows.