Joyful Living When Circumstances Are Not

If someone were to ask you, “What is Joy?” how would you answer? We all need joy but many don’t know how to find it. There are so many unwanted surprises in life that can try to steal our joy.

Is Joyful living possible? Can joy and heartache coexist?

We will explore these questions and see what the Bible has to say about them.

*** Spoiler alert – free download at the end of this article ***

What joyful living is not

So if you picture in your mind one big happy party, joyful living is not that. In fact, sometimes there can be great sorrow, yet joy remains. But how is that possible?

Photo of 4 women at a party. Joyful living is not that.

Joy is not the result of our circumstances. Instead, it comes from things that do not change.

What the Bible says about joyful living

How many times is “joy” in the Bible?

Would you be surprised if I told you that the words “joy”, “joyful” or “rejoice” are used 430 times in the Bible? (1)

It is obvious that God wants us to have joy. Here are just a few “joyful” Bible verses.

“These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” John 15:11 ESV

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing … ” Romans 15:13

” … in your presence, there is fullness of joy … ” Psalm 16:11

Joyful living comes from relationships

The Bible talks about the role that godly friends play in our ability to live joyfully.

“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11

Joyful living comes from relationships. This is a photo of friends in a field blowing bubbles.
Godly friends are a source of joy

Of course, the best friend we could ever have is Jesus. He set the example of what it means to have friends that bring us joy.

“Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross … ” Hebrews 12:2

What exactly was the joy that made it possible to endure the cross? It was the fact that our relationship with God could be restored. Our creator values our friendship!

Joyful living comes from hope for the future

Photo of an open Bible and the word "hope" coming up from the pages.

During the most sorrowful time in the disciples’ lives, Jesus assured them that though he was going to die, they would see each other again. He would come back to life and eventually take them to be with Him. (John 14:1-3, 18-19)

And just like the disciples, if we love Jesus, we will get to see Him in the future face to face. Our time here on earth is temporary. When we die it is not the end. We have a glorious future awaiting us.

Joyful living comes from the unchanging word of God

“Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.” Matthew 24:35

“For I the Lord do not change … ” Malachi 3:6

“The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.” Isaiah 40:8

When life gets tough, we can go to the Bible to find unchanging promises about our relationship with God, and about our lives now and in the future.

Photo of an open Bible- the unchanging word of God that makes joyful living possible.

If you have not begun a regular Bible reading plan, now is the time to start. Bible reading is the main way that God speaks to us.

For those needing help getting started, take a look at Bible Reading For Beginners. It will show you how and where to start reading.

You will also want to check out our 36 free Bible reading plans. They give you a different topic to learn about each month.

If you want to go deeper and understand better the application of Scripture to your life, check out our online Bible studies.

Joyful living and heartache can coexist

What has been your greatest heartache?

  • Loss of a child or a baby?
  • Death of someone you love?
  • Unwanted divorce?
  • Being given up for adoption?
  • Loss of personal property through fire or flood?
  • Something else?

Mine was being divorced twice. It felt like such a waste of 40 years of my life, not to mention the pain and embarrassment involved.

I wish I had realized that joyful living and heartache can coexist. Instead, I was a basket case needing family and friends to support me emotionally.

This is not to say that when you have joy, you don’t experience pain. You do. But there is so much more we can focus on than what we do not have. The best thing is that God is at the center of this joyful living.

  • God will not leave us or abandon us when others have
  • He is faithful when others are not
  • God will not hurt or disappoint us when others will

Final thoughts and a gift

Life can be difficult. Yet we can have joy because it is not tied to our circumstances.

Joy comes from our relationship with God, His unchanging words, and the hope we have for the future.

These are the pillars of Joyful Living!

For more Bible verses about joyful living, you can download this free one-month Bible reading plan. No email is required.

photo of Bible reading plan, "joyful living."

Here is also a free coloring page about the joy of the Lord. You can download it for free.

photo of the coloring page.

You might also like to read “Life is a journey – 7 ways to enjoy the ride.


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