In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord; My hand was stretched out in the night without ceasing; My soul refused to be comforted.
Psalm 77:2 (NKJV)
Genuine followers of Jesus Christ have all experienced the dark night of the soul at one time or another in their lives. Those days, weeks, months or even years can seem like they will never end and be extremely difficult to endure. Regardless of how much we love the Lord and seek His comfort, there are times when our souls—our minds, wills and emotions— refuse to be comforted.
His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant;
you have been faithful over a few things,
I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’
Matthew 25:23 (NKJV)
In Psalm 23:4, David wrote about walking through the valley of the shadow of death. That valley is no fun to walk through, but the main thing to keep in mind is that we walk through it. We should never stop and give up! People who have sincerely asked Jesus Christ to be their personal Lord and Savior, who asked Almighty God for forgiveness for their sins in Jesus’ name, and who have repented and changed their ungodly behavior will eventually experience joy in the morning. That joy may come the next day after a traumatic event. However, it may be weeks or months before that joy comes to our hearts, minds and spirits. True Christians know that when we pass from this life into eternity, and we see the Lord face to face, we will be filled with joy!
Then he said to them, “Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord.
Do not sorrow, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”
Nehemiah 8:10 (NKJV)
The cycle of experiencing grief, weeping, and sorrow and then returning to a place of joy is part of life. However, some Christians can get stuck in the grieving part of the cycle and do not regain the joy of the Lord. The joy of the Lord is our strength as it says in Nehemiah 8:10 and we must return to His joy in order to receive the healing we need from traumatic events in our lives. We can only do that if we are one of God’s children, living our lives for His glory.
In 2 Corinthians 11:24-28, Paul wrote about many of the traumatic events that he had experienced:
Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches.
2 Corinthians 11:24-28 (ESV)
Most of us have not suffered the majority of those types of horrendous situations, other than possibly sleepless nights, hunger and thirst, and being cold. Nevertheless, many true Christians, including me, have been extremely wounded and devastated by traumatic circumstances which caused our hearts and spirits to be broken. Have you been betrayed? I have. Have you been divorced? I have. Have you been lied about by close friends or family members? I have. Have you been raped? I have. Have you been the victim of a violent crime? I have. Have you suffered the loss of a loved one due to their death? I have. Have you been abandoned? I have. Have you been rejected? I have. Have you been emotionally, verbally, mentally, physically, sexually, or spiritually abused? I have experienced all of those types of abuse and more. Have you been the victim of domestic violence? I have. Have you survived a natural disaster? I have. However, I am a survivor and more than a conqueror through Jesus Christ! You can be too!!
Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors and gain an overwhelming victory through Him who loved us [so much that He died for us].
Romans 8:37 (AMP)
Paul called the immense traumatic circumstances that he suffered “light afflictions” in 2 Corinthians 4:16-18. He encouraged us not to lose heart and remember that the trials in our lives are only for a moment compared to eternity. We must always try to keep God’s perspective as our focus—the big picture—that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28, NKJV).
Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing,
yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.
For our light affliction, which is but for a moment,
is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory,
while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen.
For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (NKJV)
When I write these articles, I am writing from a place of truly having lived through and survived numerous forms of extremely traumatic events. My personal relationship with Jesus Christ has enabled the inner healing that He has done in my heart and spirit. The amount of emotional and spiritual healing I have received is amazing and it has allowed me to help others. Jesus died for all my griefs and sorrows. He died for yours as well. Isaiah was prophesying about Jesus in these verses:
Surely He has borne our griefs
And carried our sorrows;
Yet we esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten by God, and afflicted.
But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.
Isaiah 53:4-5 (NKJV)
Our Most High God has promised us that joy will come in the morning. He does not tell us which morning, only that joy will come. We must participate in the fulfillment of that promise in any way that He leads us to do so. The main thing that we can do to see that happen in our lives is to worship the Lord regardless of what is happening in the natural realm. As we obey and honor Him, we will experience increasing amounts of His joy!
Sing praise to the LORD, you saints of His,
And give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name.
For His anger is but for a moment,
His favor is for life;
Weeping may endure for a night,
But joy comes in the morning.
Psalm 30:4-5 (NKJV)