Rejoice in the LORD always!
Joy is such a vitally important factor in our lives; it gives us strength and stability. In fact Paul says it twice! I think it might be because it is hard sometimes to be joyful. I know in my life I often focus on the bad or just what I am doing at the time and true joy vanishes. Joy is not just a feeling or happiness toward the world. In this context it is the deep down confidence that God is in complete control of our lives, and He is working for our good and His glory, so we have so need to fear. We can rejoice, no matter what life holds or the circumstance that we find ourselves in.
This verse kept repeating itself over and over in my head as I sat in the hospital with my precious Payton. At the time, I understood it to mean that we were going to have a miracle. I kept rejoicing that she was still alive and that we had made it this far, if only God would do what I knew he could. But I wasn’t rejoicing in the Lord. I think it is so important that “the Lord” is there. In all truthfulness I was mad at Him. How could He do this to my family who all tried so hard to love Him? I was rejoicing in what I knew He could do, not in Him. Certainly the sorrow, misery, pain, and death that comes with this life doesn’t give our hearts any gladness or joy.
It was later while reading the word and praying that I realized I needed to let God take control of the situation and I truly did rejoice in the Lord. God is my only sure, reliable, unwavering, unchanging source of true joy! David I think says it best, when he said “I have trusted your loving kindness, my heart shall rejoice in Your salvation” or the psalmist that wrote “my lips shout for joy when I sing praises to you; and my soul, which you have redeemed”. Paul in his letter to the Philippians declared “For to me, to live in Christ and to die is gain!” Even the thought of being tortured and put to death could not compare to the joy he had in Jesus Christ! The confidence “that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God, that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom 8:39) should give us deep everlasting joy and give our spirit renewed strength.
Today I pray that each of us have true Joy that is only found in the love of Jesus Christ. “And Rejoice in the Lord always, I will say it again……REJOICE!”