As I look back across my life, I remember times when I was on top of the mountain and times when I was down in the valley. I remember one time when I was in my 20’s that I was so upset that I simply could not eat.
Have you ever been that upset? What did you do about it?
Life will toss you a curve ball from time to time. You may suffer the loss of a relationship, or the circumstances around you may be harsh. The length of time you dwell in that valley and how soon you are able to move beyond it are dependent on where you derive your joy.
If your joy is from Jesus, you will be able to rejoice in the storms.
And the multitude rose up together against them: and the magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat them. And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely: Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks. And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them. And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed.
Paul and Silas were beaten and tossed in prison. Their wounds were probably stinging, their bodies aching, and their feet in the stocks. Side note: If this was the same kind of stripes that were given to Jesus, the whips were designed with things attached to them that cut into the skin. Either way, we can assume that Paul and Silas were in a great deal of pain, yet they were singing praises to God.
Many of our troubles pale in comparison to what Paul and Silas were going through when they began to praise God. What would you have been doing if you were either of them? What do you typically do when you are in the valley?
What was Paul’s secret the reason he had joy even in prison? The secret can be found in Philippians 4.
Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.
I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
Today’s challenge is to apply what Paul knew to your life. He prayed for what he needed. He gave thanks. He thought on things that were lovely and pure. He leaned on Jesus to strengthen him, and he trusted God to supply his needs.