8 Ways to Choose Joy in Times of Suffering


An unforeseen diagnosis.  Her doctor was sure it was a hereditary, non-cancerous thyroid condition.
An unanticipated surgery.  Yes, once the diagnosis was given surgery was planned.  However, it turned out to be a much more intense surgery than anyone imagined.
An unforeseen complication.  No voice for two months (so far) with four children!
An unexpected follow-up report.  “Aggressive.  Need to move quickly on the radiation treatment.”
…This was my daughter’s summer.

What do we do with the hurt?  Where do we go with the fear?
Do we turn away allowing our circumstances to take control?
Or do we draw close, choosing JOY instead?


“Joy:  a settled conviction in the soul produced by the Holy Spirit as He causes us to see the beauty of Christ in the middle of our suffering.”
–Matt Wiese, Pastor Crossbridge Church


Sure, easy words to say when things are going well.  Much harder words to live out in the reality of suffering where our pain, our fear, and our grief are real.  But even as we feel these heartrending emotions and acknowledge their presence, we must not allow them to dictate our joy.


Our heavenly Father is full of compassion.  He does not expect us to deny the existence of our suffering or to pretend everything is okay.  No, it’s His desire to meet us right there in the middle of the mess – the pain, the fear, the grief – and to fill us with His abundant joy.

How Do We Seek the Joy of the Lord in Our Suffering?

  • Run to Him with our pain, our fear, and our grief.
  • Ask Him to calm our soul and give us peace.
  • Ask Him for joy.
  • Spend some time in a Biblically solid devotional on JOY.
  • Surround yourself with JOY-filled Scriptures. Use post-it notes, decorate your home with them, set them as wallpaper on your devices.
  • Create a JOY playlist.
  • Learn to “”View suffering through the lens of the scriptures with an attitude of joy thinking forward to our hope in Christ.” –Matt Wiese
  • Seek out a Scripture Challenge on JOY. Spend some time reading and/or writing JOY Scriptures.
We are children of a gracious and loving heavenly Father who longs to fill us with His JOY so that we might live an abundant life.  Jesus died that we might have that JOY-filled abundant life, and through the Holy Spirit we have access to God’s unending supply.
God longs to grow us in His image for the JOY of others and for His great glory.
Choose JOY.







Download The Joy of the Lord Scripture Challenge.


12 comments on “8 Ways to Choose Joy in Times of Suffering

  1. “Thinking forward…” That is the key to joy. Joy helps us think forward to what God is going to do, whether he shows himself big with a miraculous event or he comes in the small quiet places of our heart. God will be glorified and that brings us joy!

  2. I love that quote from C.S. Lewis. And I’m thinking that joy is heaven’s major export as well!
    Thanks for this important piece of writing!

    • Oh, I love that, Michele! May have to create a graphic, “Joy is heaven’s major export.” – Michele Morin. Thank you for stopping by today. Always love your visits!

  3. Deborah- lots of things happening for you! Thank you for the wisdom and the tips! I’m going to add your daughter to my prayers!
    Visiting from #HeartEncouragement

    • It has been quite the summer, but God has been so good through all of it! I know He has taught me a lot, and I cannot wait to hear my daughter’s story when she is ready. Thank you for your prayers for her!

  4. I recently battled breast cancer, and as difficult as it was, I was drawn closer to the Lord than ever before. God is in the struggles and there is great joy and peace in the middle of the hardship, because He is with us always and He is good! I hope your daughter is doing better, I feel she will be closer to the Lord than ever before too. Through the suffering beautiful things happen. Prayers for your family, as I know you are all affected. God Bless!

    • “He is with us always and He is good!” Amen!!!! Thank you, Debra, for sharing your story and for the encouragement you offer. The Lord is ready to do amazing things even in the hard stuff if we will just let Him. Thank you for stopping by today. Blessings!

  5. I’m sorry for the complications for your daughter. Situations like that can leave the imprint of fear, but as you explained, we can choose to embrace joy even in fear-inducing situations. And you’re right, scripture is the key. Meditation on God’s promises gives us peace. Thanks for your story.

    • Karen, Thank you for your kind thoughts toward our daughter. While the journey has been difficult, it has been amazing to watch as she has chosen JOY! God is on the move. Blessings to you!

  6. Horace Williams Jr.

    August 24, 2017 at 10:19 am

    Amen Deborah! This post inspires me to say Hallelujah! I have been experiencing tremendous physical pain since my book published last Christmas. I have seen doctors and specialists with no answer, just guesses. Even the MRI did not reveal a diagnosis, but God has been faithful. One thing that has taken place during this time frame is that my time with God has been such a revelation. He continues to show things to me that I am excited to share with my community of readers going forward. Things are not as bad health wise as 7 months ago. Praise God! He has given me some light at the end of this tunnel. I agree with you on joy and the quotes you share here today. Joy is not about how you feel but it comes from within. There is a peace from the Holy Spirit that gives you comfort and hope. Sorry to ramble so long, but your post really spoke to me today. I hope you have a marvelous weekend and may God continue to bless you and yours as you choose joy!

    • Horace, Thank you for sharing your story with us. Praise our mighty God for peace and joy and lights at the end of the tunnel! Praying for you!

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