When Circumstances are Tough and Joy Seems Elusive

Gold Brush Stroke

“You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Psalms 16:11

path of life_resized-

Fullness of joy! Such a beautiful phrase.

I want that, don’t you?

And despite the dark days, the many diagnoses we may face, the tears of sorrow, the difficult marriages, the barbed words that drop us low, the pit of despair we may fall into. Despite all the hard circumstances in our lives, we can have that fullness of joy.

Despite the hard circumstances in our lives, we can have fullness of joy. Share on X

We can wade in the darkest, dankest sewer water. We can slog through the thickest mud. We can be caught in the thorniest briers. And we can still have joy. Just ask the Apostle Paul (book of Acts).

He experienced the fullness of joy chained in prison, beaten by rods, facing persecution and death at every turn.

Paul came to realize it isn’t the circumstances that determine the joy, but Who you invite to join you. With Jesus as a permanent guest in life, there is always joy.

It's not our circumstances that determine our joy, but Who we invite to join us in those circumstances. Share on X

The Psalmist knew, too: Fullness of joy is found in the presence of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 

When we invite Jesus to be our constant companion, wherever we may be, whatever struggles we face, joy is there as well. Not just a little bit of joy, but a full measure. Enough to fill us up and flow over.

In the presence of the Lord is joy because in Him there is always the Promise. The promise that our sorrows will end, the mud will dry up, thorns will fall off, His light will chase all the shadows away.

In Jesus we always have fullness of joy because we have the promise of a resurrected life in Him, a forever life with Him. 

No matter how dark it may appear now, light will come. It is there now, just masked by our pain.

No matter how many diagnoses you receive, there will always be one that reads whole and well. No more illness, no more disabilities—a promise to hold tight. 

No matter how many tears of sorrow you shed now, joy is present. It’s always there as Jesus stands patiently, waiting to dry your tears. 

In Him we have life everlasting—fullness of life. Little wonder then that in Him we also have fullness of joy!

Reflections: During which circumstances do you find it most difficult to find joy? Why do you think that is? 

Linking with Ann Voskamp at A Holy Experience in 2013 with my Joy Dare list for Multitude Mondays (#2145–2165, read the entire list by clicking here):

  • Evening spent with my brother & his wife; Sharing pictures of wonderful times; Reassurance of an incredible doctor
  • Pastor’s support (above & beyond) & love of so many; Successful heart ablation for Zachary!; God’s gift of amazing docs
  • Joey’s great attitude today despite an injured knee that pulls him out of football; Zach’s speedy recovery; Tomorrow
  • Wrapping the day up early; God orchestrating encouragement in unusual ways; A formerly disguised blessing revealed
  • A walk after a fresh rain; Impromptu visit by a dear friend; Taking time off from an agenda–in other words, relaxing!
  • My knee pain is gone!; A little more written on my manifesto; Resurrected “reading-aloud” time tonight
  • Warm oven beef stew on a cool fall day; Joey’s knee less inflamed; Incredible books I’m being paid to proofread

multitudesonmondaysbutton2 1

Also linking with this wonderful site:


By His Grace,


Leave a Comment

Julie Sunne

Hello, I'm Julie, an imperfect wife and mother of four. Life in this broken world is not always easy. Yet, joy can be found in each day through the grace and mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ.

I find it's easy for our day's blessings to get lost in its happenings. But God's "mercies never end" (Lamentations 3:22) and His "grace is sufficient" (2 Corinthians 12:9).

May the posts and pages on this site offer you a measure of peace and encouragement.

Search the Blog


25 spotlight bible verses
Maintain Godly Focus!

Are you struggling to maintain godly focus in the mess of each day's living? Do you too easily find yourself worrying about circumstances instead of trusting in God's promises? If you answered yes, why not download my ebook. It's filled with 25 power verses with space for personal reflection to help you maintain godly focus, no matter what situations arise.

(Privacy policy: Don't worry, your information is safe you can unsubscribe at any time.)

Something went wrong. Please check your entries and try again.

New Book, Just Released!

Sometimes I Forget by Julie Sunne