Painful Joy...

by Oleg Kostyuk

“Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2)

Is it possible to experience real joy while going through pain?


It is a tough topic! I have to admit, I am not an expert on such issues. I cannot even say that I have experienced real pain. The pain that I am experiencing now is far less from the pain that my friend is experiencing going through deadly disease. It is certainly less than the pain that our family friends are experiencing crying out to God standing on their knees by the cradle of their 7 months old daughter who was diagnosed with a terrifying disease. I am far from finding the answers!..


But, the Bible, I know, still has the answer.


Luke in Acts 16 tells us about Paul and Silas when they were in Philippi. There was a certain slave girl possessed with a spirit of divination who would meet them and cry out: “These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation” (Acts 16:17). It was happening for many days. So, at some point Paul became “greatly annoyed” and he turned and said to the spirit: “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her” (Acts 16:18). This miracle resulted in Paul and Silas being accused in troubling the city. Not only were they accused, but they were beaten with rods. Luke tells us that when the citizens of Philippi “had laid many stripes on them, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to keep them securely” (Acts 16:23). Imagine the pain that their bodies were experiencing after they were beaten much. And, in addition to that, they were put into the dungeon and their feet were fastened in the stocks.


What really strikes me is the fact that being in such a state “Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.” (Acts 16:25). Did they know what was going to happen to them the next day? Maybe, they felt like it was the last night of their lives?


Despite the pain their hearts were filled with joy even though they were experiencing pain. Can my heart be filled with joy while going through loss or excruciating pain? I do not know. It is not a cliché expression, but we need to remember that God not only all-powerful. He is perfect in Goodness. We need to trust Him even when the times are grim. Jesus WAS experiencing tremendous pain! But He knew what was ahead of Him. Maybe, only knowing the destination we can be filled with Joy while on our journey?


I want to learn how to live with that joy in my heart.

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