Many times in my life I have ignored the warnings of the Holy Spirit and proceeded to do things my own way. I can almost hear God saying, "if only you had listened to me, you wouldn't be going through this now." I am so thankful that even when I am stubborn and rebellious, God's love allows me suffer the consequences. It is through those times of discipline that my faith and trust in Him is strengthened. As we read on in verses 23-25 we see that an angel of the Lord told Paul not to be afraid, God still had plans for him, there would be no loss of life even though they would be shipwrecked. I can "take heart" that though I may suffer the consequences for my disobedience, God still has plans for me and those plans are for good!
There are also times of trials that are not the result of sin, but just a part of living life in a fallen world. God also uses these times for my good, to conform me into the image of His Son. James 1:2-4 says; "Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing." James said, "when troubles come my way", not if, so I can be assured of having trials and tribulation! However, it is an opportunity for great joy.
So how can I be joyful in the face of adversity? Being joyful is a choice, not an emotion or feeling. I feel happy or sad, but joy is a state of being. And joy comes from the knowledge of what my future holds, not what my present circumstances indicate. Jesus said I should rejoice because my name is written in heaven, and nothing can change that. But Jesus is also very practical and He knew I would need specific instructions - "These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and [that] your joy may be full.” (John 15:11) You need to study John 15:1-10 yourself to know what things Jesus said would will fill you with His joy, but basically, it’s abiding or remaining in Jesus and His Word, bearing fruit that remains (see Gal. 5:22-23), obeying His commandments and abiding in His love. This is the source of true joy that nothing can take away - knowing Jesus and clinging to Him.
Many would have you believe that if you are living in obedience to God you won't have problems. Well my friend that is simply not true, living a life of obedience is how we can overcome the troubles of this world with joy unspeakable. Just as Jesus said, "In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” Even if I lose my possessions, loved ones, even my life . . . I know my Redeemer lives! So I exhort you beloved be of good cheer, if Jesus is your Savior, you have eternal life and through Him you can overcome the world!
Founder and President of Go Ministries, Inc.
Co-Founder and Secretary/Treasurer of Go Ministries, Inc