Inside Out: Rejoice – Guest Post by Christina Serrapica
“And not only this, but [with joy] let us rejoice in our sufferings and rejoice in our hardships, knowing that hardship (distress, pressure, trouble) produces patient endurance; and endurance, proven character (spiritual maturity); and proven character, hope and confident assurance [of external salvation]. Such hope [in God’s promises] never disappoints us because God’s love has been abundantly poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” –Romans 5:3-5
Don’t just rejoice in the good, but also rejoice in the bad. Oh, how I wish this was easier said than done! Your struggles are meant to build you up, make you stronger and build character. That sounds amazing and all, but I’m the biggest baby and I can’t help but huff and puff when things get tough. As Christians, we are held to a certain standard and expectations from others to “keep the faith” and “remain joyful in hard times,” but everything within me wants to shout, “THIS SUCKS!” I begin to doubt my faith and doubt the part where God’s going to use this for my good. As a Christ-follower, we are supposed to be secure in knowing He doesn’t disappoint us. It’s so hard to believe that when you are in the middle of it all. I find myself trying real hard to rejoice some days. In those tough seasons, sometimes all I can get out is a “thank you Lord” on my way to work. Is that wrong? Am I a bad Christian because at my lowest of lows I don’t feel like giving Him my all? If I can be honest, some days I don’t feel like giving anything. God, where is my faith? Why did you bring me here?
It’s funny how the Holy Spirit leads us. I believe sometimes the Holy Spirit leads us into our trials, just as He led Jesus into his first trial against Satan himself (Matthew 4:1). Don’t you think Jesus was like, “Hold up! Why did you bring me here?” The Holy Spirit trains us and teaches our hearts. Unfortunately, he may lead us to a place that’s uncomfortable and not what we expected. Or, he may guide us to a place where we have to make a tough decision we wind up making the wrong one. That’s ok because he reroutes us while smacking us upside the head and leads us again in love. And each time he walks with us closely and pours into us all that we need. God doesn’t send us into battle alone, even though at times it may feel that way. He is with us.
When I think of this scripture, I can’t help to think of my all time favorite Disney Pixar film,Inside Out. Let me give you some background information if you’re not an adult who watches Disney movies. In the film, Riley, a young girl and her family move away from her hometown where she had lots of good memories, friends and all of her favorite beginnings to a brand new city. During this move, where she trusted her parents to make a good decision for her, she found it tough to adjust to a new town. Sound familiar? Sometimes, God leads us to a new place, whether literally or figuratively and we trust Him, but we are unsure at times. Ok, back to the movie. Riley was bubbling up with feelings and emotions that she couldn’t quite process. We get a inside look into her conscious and the way her feelings operate inside her brain. The character Joy, battles with the character Sadness to make things perfect again in Riley’s world, while everything falls apart. The movies ends with Sadness and Joy working as a team to get Riley back to herself again. Which leads me to this conclusion, you can’t have joy without sadness and you can’t have triumph without trials; They go hand in hand. God responds in my seasons rejoicing, but I have found that God speaks to me more in the valley. Maybe it’s because I tune Him out more so He has to speak a little louder. I’ll go days distancing myself from Him and ignoring His call. When I finally turn to Him, He responds just as if He were there through it all because He always is.
The Holy Spirit is always there to remind us through the trial if who we are and keeps us in the truth when the enemy comes at us with lies. He keeps us in line. Some days, joy responds and we praise Him and have a great day in Him. Other days, we fall down on our knees in despair and He responds in love and we can see things a little clearer and see things from His perspective. This morning, the lyrics from this song made me burst out in tears. “Scars and struggles on the way but with joy my heart can say, never once did we ever walk alone, never once did you leave us on our own.” God, you never leave us, we are not alone and you always respond!
When trials come, when the struggles come, I know I can be ready with the Holy Spirit by my side. We’ve done it before, we can make it through again. It’s hard to remind myself of this on a daily basis. When I go through my toughest seasons, I have to keep the faith and be in tune to the Holy Spirit. That is where we find that peace and comfort in knowing that God’s got this. God has the greater outcome in it all and I can rejoice in it, but I can also weep through it as well.
Joy & Sadness
Triumph & Trial
Be thankful and rejoice for what He has done and for what He is doing. He’s a good Father and knows what’s best.
About Christina Serrapica
Christina is a genuine worshipper in spirit and in truth. She currently spends her days working at a dermatology office in Birmingham learning about beauty from the inside out. She enjoys leading people in worship and loving on those who cross her path.