God's word in today's world

Is it possible to laugh in all circumstances?

When you make a choice for God, his Spirit moves in, bringing about a major change in your life of which joy probably is the most significant. That is what Paul said about the new Christians in Thessalonica: 6Although great trouble accompanied the Word, you were able to take great joy from the Holy Spirit! – taking the trouble with the joy, the joy with the trouble.

If I understand this Scripture correctly, you must radiate joy at all times, no matter what your circumstances are. In other words, even when things are hard, joy should still flow from you. It’s not easy and I must honestly say I’m not able to do it right now. On the contrary!

I still remember when I was involved in the business world. Once I lay awake from early morning about a meeting with the union at the CCMA at 09:00. They wanted to talk about wage increases, although they didn’t have a majority membership in the business and we anyway granted increases later in the year. This after I had been there the previous day when they just did not show up. No, sorry, I wasn’t feeling like laughing!

It happens all the time in life that things occur that steal your joy. Each of us can write a book about stuff that stole our joy this past week. Life is simply not made in a way that allows me the privilege of overflowing with laughter and cheers through thick and thin.

What can we do? Has Paul got it wrong or is it us who cannot understand? I revere Paul so much, that I suspect we are causing the short circuit.

We discussed God’s favour in our small group. God’s favour, for example, comprises all the promises He made in his Word: that He will never forsake us; that not one of our hairs will fall out without Him knowing about it; that it will go well with us; that He will make everything work out for our good; and that all God’s blessings will not be withheld or taken away from us, not even for a second! It doesn’t matter what my circumstances are, God’s favour covers me at all times. That will never change!

The reason why I don’t experience joy is because I’m focusing on the wrong things. I’m focusing on my circumstances. I’m focusing on the CCMA hearing instead of focusing on God’s favour and what He is doing for me every second of the day. You need to concentrate on God’s favour and not on the circumstances in which you find yourself.

What a nice little sermon I’m giving myself here! It’s not easy and I sometimes feel it is impossible. But you must force yourself to remember this every time: God’s favour is with me. Yes, God’s favour is with me despite my circumstances. Then you will overflow with joy. And fortunately, you don’t have to create the laughter! Read the verse again: That is the work of the Holy Spirit.

My mentor explains it so well. He says that God’s favour shines on us the whole day like the sun. Then we allow sin and all the other frogs in the pipe to cast a shadow over us. But the shadow does not make the sun go away. Move out of the shadow and the favour of God will shine on you!

Put in a serious effort to make God part of your everyday existence. Then the Holy Spirit will increase the joy in your life!


1 Thessalonians 1:5-10


Does your life overflow with happiness?

Do you realise that God’s favour covers you?

Which “happiness thief” should you get rid of right now?


Father, I must confess that I often experience a lack of peace. I know it’s because I’m blinded by the circumstances that smothers the life in me. I know I should concentrate more on Your blessings and favour, but it’s hard for me. Please help me to look beyond my circumstances, to look up at You and all that You give me every day. Amen.

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