The topic of this article is having patience in tribulation. I would like to share a personal experience with you to start things off. When I was 16 I was moving some very heavy furniture by myself. (I’ve never been the one to wait for the man power!) Well the next day my lower back was in terrible pain. I didn’t know what was wrong with it at the time but after several cat scans, x-rays, and MRI’s the doctors told me I had a slightly ruptured disc in my back. The news was unbearable for me as I was expected to be on bed rest for 2 years! I was 16…I was not happy. The doctors gave me pain pills for my back but I refused to take them-they made me irritable and sick.
The pain was so bad at one point that I couldn’t lift a milk jug without almost dropping it. I had trouble holding my neck up sometimes. All I could do was sit and wait. My personal life and relationships were heading for disaster. I was always mad. I couldn’t help myself; I couldn’t help my mom with simple daily chores. If any of you know me personally then you know that I never like to just sit. I like to be helping and serving! So this back pain was a major hindrance for me. Not just in my physical state but also in my spiritual walk with the Lord and with my family relationships. This went on for about 2 and half months.
But after reading my Bible and surrendering my situation to God something happened. God has the power to confound even the wisest of doctors. My back was healed! My family and friends had often prayed for my healing and God had answered prayer! I was ecstatic! I wouldn’t have to waste time on the couch anymore, I wouldn’t be a burden to my family, I could play sports, and no more depressed days spent on the bed. I was back to my normal life.
Some of you may have gone through horrendous trials in your life. Many of you have experienced hardships and tribulations. All of us will experience trials throughout our entire lives. Jesus said in John 16:33 … “In the world you will have tribulation; but take heart, I have overcome the world.”
There are a great many number of difficulties people face daily. But in this devotional I don’t want to elaborate on what hard times everyone faces or will face. I don’t want to tell you how to go through a trial. I want to share with you how to FIGHT FOR JOY and how to have PATIENCE.
To get started lets define the word tribulation.
Tribulation: (According to the Webster Dictionary) -That which occasions distress, trouble, or vexation; severe affliction.
Now what about the definition of Patience?
Patience: 1. The power of suffering with fortitude; uncomplaining endurance of evils or wrongs, as toil, pain, poverty, insult, oppression, calamity, etc.
- The act or power of calmly or contentedly waiting for something due or hoped for; forbearance.
Hmmm the power of suffering with fortitude or calmness, it sounds awesome! Let’s learn how. Fighting for joy is so crucial in how to stay calm through trials. When I was in pain with my back, I showed it. My hair was always a disaster. My face was pale and frowning, I walked around the house in my pj’s and sweatpants. My attitude was one of distress and annoyance. I was unhappy and everyone knew it. I had headaches and made myself sicker.
But I surrendered my pain, my circumstance and my condition to the Lord. The next morning I woke up and put on makeup, I did my hair nicely and dressed up for the day. But there was more to it than just fixing my personal appearance.
Next I had to (or rather, I got to), constantly ask God for joy and patience! I had to practice praying constantly. Every time I felt pain going up the stairs, or bending over, I remembered to ask God for joy or peace. I listened to worship music, memorized Bible verses and sang hymns to myself.
It was a moment by moment process. And although the pain did not leave, my attitude and downcast perspective did. I didn’t notice the pain as much because my mind wasn’t on the pain; it was on God. My body was healthier, my relationship with God was THRIVING and my joy was contagious…My little brothers and sisters sought to be around me more-which I loved! I felt soo much better even though my back still wasn’t completely healed.
So I am going to lay out 3 ways that you can have Joy and Patience through a trial.
- Surrender to Christ. This process isn’t always easy. In fact a lot of times we want to hold onto or justify how we are feeling. We question God and His authority in our lives. But we MUST give over to God! If we don’t we will be left to wallow in our misery. Get down on your knees and say, “Jesus, I can’t do this! I don’t want to do this but I know I have to in order to have peace. Please take my life, take my pain, take my circumstance and use me for Your GLORY. I give over to you my hurts and sufferings, only you can understand Jesus. Please work and live through me Jesus. I don’t want to go on in sadness I want to have life, your Life! Teach me how to fight for Joy Lord. Show me your way. Amen”.
- Work on preparing yourself for the day. Most of us don’t like to get dressed or prep for the day in the first place! I normally wear whatever is comfortable and I look shabby. But in order to feel better about yourself, your day, and your circumstance it help to dress and look beautiful. Freshen your face in the morning and dab on a little makeup. Do your hair and pick out an outfit that you feel confident and beautiful in. Who cares if your home all day! At least you feel better.
- Practice staying in God’s presence. This can be done in many ways. I like to do all of the following!
-Worship music-this really puts me in the mood to praise God and focus on all of His marvelous qualities!
-Prayer- this is actually a lot more difficult than you might think! REMEMBERING is the hardest thing for me to do during the day. I am so busy and am constantly multitasking so prayer is not one of my “top priorities!” You must force your mind to remember. Sometimes you have to set a timer on your phone or kitchen oven to remind yourself to STOP and PRAY. Surrender to God again what you are feeling, what you need help with and don’t forget to praise or thank the Lord while in prayer. Sometimes they will only be 30 second prayers-sometimes 2 minutes. But just pray!
-Scripture and Hymn memorization- if you read a verse or know a hymn read it or sing it over and over again! The more your mind is concentrated on the Lord the less it will be on your circumstance.
I hope these 3 steps in Fighting for Joy and Patience will help. They helped me dramatically. The steps can help in any tribulation or trail someone might be going through. And even though I still have back pain occasionally, it doesn’t bother me because I’ve found my peace and security in Christ. You can too. Thank you for reading.
“God’s way of answering the Christian’s prayer for more patience, experience, hope and love often is to put him into the furnace of affliction.” -Richard Cecil
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