How can I feel joyful when my life and the world around me are falling apart?
First, let's understand what God prescribes in a Psalm from David: "…let all those rejoice who put their trust in You; Let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them; Let those also who love Your name Be joyful in You. For You, O LORD, will bless the righteous; With favor You will surround him as with a shield." PSALM 5:11-12 NKJV
In the midst of difficult circumstances, how can you possibly be "full of joy"? If you are not a Christian, empowered by the Holy Spirit in you, the answer is that, in all probability, you can not. Look carefully at the verse above. Those who put their trust in the Lord, rejoice. Those who are defended by God shout for joy. Those who love the name of God are joyful, in Him. The verse says that the Lord will bless the righteous and surround you with a shield and favor you. Yes, trials will come but you are never going through them alone if you love the Lord. What can you focus on if you feel alone and are hurting?
People who are depressed and sad, even though they love the Lord, are sometimes experiencing pain, mental and/or physical and the pain is real. Jesus experienced pain and rejection. Listen:
“…(Jesus Christ) made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." PHILIPPIANS 2:7-11 NKJV
He who suffered for us, joyfully presents us to the Father, cleansed of our sin. These verses tell it all: "… when they had called for the apostles and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. So they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name. And daily in the temple, and in every house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ." ACTS 5:40-42 NKJV
"Who shall bring a charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?...For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord…….. ROMANS 8:33-39. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. JAMES 4:8 NKJV
Jesus knows our circumstances. Do you feel His presence in all things at all times? Whether you do or not, His Spirit is always present. Is it okay to feel sad? Listen to James, Jesus' brother: My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. Yes we will feel sad and depressed but the power of the Holy Spirit will lift your spirit.
Core Christian Value: Joy is the condition of a believer's life. Not joy in suffering or rejection, but joy in knowing that through every circumstance the Holy Spirit is with you, comforting and guiding you.