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How You Can Focus on Joy in Your Time of Sorrow

Joy and Sorrow: How You Can Focus on Joy in Your Time of Sorrow

It was a few months out from the death of my father, when out on a date with my husband, shopping for shirts, I came across one that looked just like one of my dad’s. My overwhelming sorrow over losing him came back to me, fresh as if it had just happened. The joy of being out with my husband suddenly felt so far away. 

It felt then that joy and sorrow couldn’t coexist… But as time goes on, regardless of what sorrows you are experiencing in your life, you can get to a place where you focus on joy rather than sorrow.

The unspeakable can happen, but when you walk with God, his comfort, peace, love, faithfulness and presence never cease. This, in itself, brings joy—knowing you are loved that greatly. You are his child, whom he sees and loves. He will not forsake you. 

God wants you to experience his joy even if you think it’s not possible or you feel like it’s wrong in the midst of this tragedy. You don’t have to live with this heavy sorrow every day. God’s word in the Bible is your guide to know how you can focus on joy. God will turn your sorrow into joy.

“Joy Comes in the Morning” Meaning

Have you ever heard the “joy in the morning” Bible verse?

“For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.” (Psalm 30:5, ESV) 

This verse can also remind you of what God can do for you in this time of sorrow. He shows you that he will not turn his back on you in this time of need, like he didn’t for the psalmist. Though there was sorrow, in the morning came joy because God continued to be faithful. He remembered God’s continuous favor and goodness and that God would go on to provide that too. 

Remember who God is and what he has done in the past. Remember that this time is temporary and that his favor is for a lifetime because of his grace. Remember that this life, here on earth, is temporary; in the bigger picture of heaven and eternity with him, there is no sorrow. Joy and pain are not there, it’s only joy. 

Let this time draw you closer to God. This Bible verse about joy into sorrow can also encourage you and lift you up in your time of need.

Psalm 30:5

Joy and Sorrow: How to Focus on Joy in God

Joy and sorrow go hand in hand at times, but sorrow turned into joy happens too. In joy and sorrow you can feel unbalanced, like you are on an emotional roller coaster, so finding reasons to be rejoicing in suffering is important. Then the joy can win out. 

The disciples understood sorrow and joy when Jesus explained what would happen to him in the gospel of John. Jesus told them how they will have joy, despite how awful what was to come. 

Below are three steps you can follow to focus on joy when facing times of sorrow.

1. Being Ready for Times of Sorrow

Jesus didn’t want his disciples to be surprised about what was going to happen to him, and them, when he was crucified, so he shared these words: 

“When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world.” (John 16:21, ESV) 

He was getting their hearts ready—you, too, need to be ready for times of sorrow. You can get your heart ready by focusing on his truth and remembering daily who he is. 

Strengthen your faith daily by staying in his truth in the Bible: read it, specifically focusing on what he did for Bible figures. He will take your sorrow away and give you joy. 

This world, and its pain, is temporary. You are only here on earth for a short time. Joy in suffering can happen when you are ready, knowing it will happen, but also knowing what Jesus has in store for you—a future with none of it. Remember the bigger picture. Be ready. 

Joy and Sorrow

2. Trusting and Having Faith in Jesus

Jesus told his disciples that he was going away soon. He was going to die on the cross and then come back in three days. 

This he knew made them feel great sorrow, but he wanted to also let them know it would not last. Therefore, they could have joy knowing they would see him again. 

“So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.” (John 16:22, ESV) 

You too can learn that, although you have sorrow now and what happened will not be undone, you can have joy knowing that you can trust Jesus and his promises to you. He promised his presence; you have it, as the disciples did. He was truthful to come back and he did. You can trust that he is coming back again. You will see him. 

When you trust with your whole heart, as he calls you, you can get through this time and have joy. 

Joy can come from focusing on his promises in the Bible. Joy can come from knowing he is with you, and knowing that there is a bigger plan happening that is for your good. Joy is also in seeing his love and provision for you as you see all the people he sends to help walk with you in this season. No one can take this joy. 

Keep the faith in him and don’t doubt him—this brings joy as you stand in faith. You can find joy in these truths when joy and sorrow are present to let joy win out. 

John 16:22

3. Prayer

Jesus spoke about prayer; to find joy in sorrow, you need to pray. 

“In that day you will ask nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.” (John 16:23-24, ESV) 

Pray for comfort. Pray for his peace. Pray for more of his presence. This brings joy, as he will answer you. It is according to his will that you receive these things. 

Pray by sharing your deepest feelings and sorrows with the Lord, too. Pray from your heart and give him whatever is on it; don’t be afraid to ask him for things. Joy and sorrow exist in prayer, too, but joy can win out as you experience him deeply, changing your heart. Pray fervently and constantly—joy will come from this. 

Joy and sorrow come in times of hardship, but you can get to a place where joy can be more present than sorrow. Joy and pain don’t have to be present always because God’s word shows you how you can focus on having joy. The Bible shows that you can have joy by getting your heart ready for times of sorrow, trusting and having faith in Jesus, and praying. Joy and sorrow can coexist—but joy in sorrow can fade where joy wins.

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Nikki Evanson

Hi, I'm Nikki

My goal is to help and equip Christians like you to live for Jesus by following Matthew 22:37-39: to love God and love people, and within this we need to learn how to love ourselves as God does.

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