Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again, rejoice! (Phil 4:4)
It’s easy to rejoice when things are going well. It’s hard to rejoice when things are going wrong. How many times when I awake, my conversation with Jesus is moaning and groaning, “Lord, please do this or that today.”
In the morning, when I arise, let me rejoice.
I recently spent a few days in a mountain cabin with my firstborn who just returned from several months in Guatemala, pouring her heart into orphans she has grown to love. She’s spent six months out of the last two years with these children. She’s built relationships with them. She’s called to full time ministry, but as she prepares to graduate from college, she knows she can’t go yet. While in the mountain cabin, she and I spent time thanking God for what He’s done, what He will do, and what He is doing.
Unknowns are hard places to rejoice. You don’t know what’s ahead. The fear of the unknown can paralyze you. I’ve lived in that fear before, stuck in emotions, not liking the wide world of “what’s next.” Your prayers become, “Lord, please!” Rejoice and thanksgiving are the last thing on your lips.
I’ve lived in times of plenty and times of need. I’ve lived in times of begging God and times of rejoicing, feeling guilty for the time of peace. Paul’s wisdom is best:
I’m learning the secret to be content is making rejoicing a lifestyle discipline. It won’t guarantee bad things won’t happen, but it changes your perspective, redefines emotions, and gives you hope in God’s character, not the circumstances.
I’m making a commitment to let the first words of the day be centered around rejoicing. I want this to be a discipline in my life. Will you join me? Our thoughts define our emotions, they change our countenance, our outlook. Rejoicing doesn’t mean false praise for bad things in your life, but finding joy and contentment in the midst. I’m encouraged not only by Paul’s example, but heroes of times past who survived insurmountable circumstances because they controlled their mind when there was nothing else they could control.
There are people around us who need hope – we can change our families, our spheres of influence by not being bound by negativity.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. ” Phil 4: 6-7, NIV
God provides this peace like no one else can. I want this peace, not just when times are good, but in the bad and the unknowns. Do you? Will you join me in rejoicing and presenting our prayers to God with thanksgiving? Over the next few weeks, join me in doing this – then share your stories with us!