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How do we have peace and joy when our circumstances seem overwhelming?

How do we have peace and joy when our circumstances seem overwhelming?

Mike Rhoades | Mar 23, 2015

How do we have peace and joy when our circumstances seem overwhelming? Several years ago I read a book, The Heavenly Man by Brother Yun. It was all about the underground church movement in China and the experiences of Bother Yun. This book was filled with stories about the miraculous provision of God in the midst of horrendous persecution from the government. One particularly fascinating story was about a night that Yun was capture by the police. Badly beaten and left hog tied in the courtyard of the prison, awaiting his sentencing, Brother Yun prayed for his captors. While praying his ropes fell off, stunned he got up and walked across the courtyard, unnoticed by the guards. Upon reaching the ten foot wire trimmed wall he heard God tell him to jump (remember he’s badly beaten) so he jumped and it felt as if someone pushed him from behind. Not only did he clear the wall but also the drainage pits outside the walls of the prison. What I find incredible about this story is what happened before his escape. Brother Yun, badly beaten and treated like a rabid animal, found joy and compassion enough to pray for his captors. How? Often times we struggle to maintain our passion for Christ when circumstances shift. We may not face persecution like Brother Yun, but the struggle is still very real. It might be a relationship that’s falling apart, a sickness in the family, or we might find it hard to stay passionate about God in the midst of a bunch of people who could care less. We all struggle to maintain our peace and joy at times. So what about Brother Yun gave him that ability to sustain through unimaginable circumstances? The answer, I believe, can be found in Proverbs 15:13. "A glad heart makes a cheerful face; A broken heart crushes the spirit." Notice the powerful truth in this short piece of scripture, joy and depression come from within. We tend to focus on external factors, but our joy is actually dependent on who we are on the inside rather than what we are surrounded by on the outside. Brother Yun writes, “The worst kind of persecution for a Christian is when you are separated from the joy and presence of the Holy Spirit.” He’s saying, the most depressing and unsustainable place to be is disconnected from God. Life isn’t the problem, the problem is our source of life. If we are struggling to maintain our peace and joy through all the changing circumstances of life...it might mean that we stopped communicating with the God living inside of us and we started focusing on our circumstances. Let us be encouraged to know, through the Holy Spirit, we have access to limitless peace and joy. We have the power to live abundant lives regardless of our circumstances because our source is, “Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.” (Ephesians 3:20)

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