Ravi Zacharias said something in this series that explained something I had never fully understood before. He said that for the Christian, joy comes from within, while the sorrows of circumstances are on the outside. For the unbeliever, the bitterness and sorrow are in the center, and joy is on the outside. That made perfect sense to me, and Mr Zacharias explanation finally made sense of the paradox of suffering in the Christian experience. Here's the link to the whole series; the statement I referenced is in pert 2 or 3, I'm not entirely sure which off the top of my head.
Has Christianity failed you? 2 on Vimeo
Scripture states in many ways that the Lord strengthens us. Here are two examples:
Philippians 4:13but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
We all know that Scripture is true, at least we do on our better days; its on our worst days that the doubts creep in, and maybe we're not so sure... It is on those bad days, those impossibly worst days that we must reach very deep for the promised strength, this is exactly what Stand Firm means. And when we do that, when we insist on searching for our guidance and strength in Scripture, in prayer and in Jesus Christ, we will indeed find how true all this is. When I need Him most, I find Jesus Christ standing in one place, not waiting, just standing, and because He stands in that one place, I am able to find Him. When I do find Him, thats when He strengthens me. If I were the only one who ever said something like that, I guess there would be room for doubt, but in Scripture, Paul says exactly the same thing:I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
2 Corinthians 4:8-9
It is because our strength and our joy comes from within, through the indwelling Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ that we have the strength that is not our own to stand in the storm. This is not "natural" because it is not of the flesh which perishes, rather our strength and our faith are of the spirit which shall be Eternal in Christ. For this reason, our joy and our strength, and the Peace which passes all understanding are unnatural and unfamiliar, but in spite of all that, this Peace in Christ is very real, and we can and should embrace it with full confidence in our Lord. That, dear sisters and brothers, is how faith is forged in the furnace of affliction, and why this is the way it is unfolded.8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.
May each of you rest in Jesus Christ alone... From the inside.