Rejoice in the Lord
“I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, My soul shall be joyful in my God…”
I’m reminded of the words in Robinson Crusoe’s ledger, after he was shipwrecked on a small island. In his ledger, he drew up parallel columns. In one column, he listed the bad points of what happened due to his shipwreck, while in the other column, he listed the good points, in spite of his shipwreck. On the bad side, he stated: I am cast up on a deserted island with no hope of recovery. There is no one to help me. I have no clothes. I have no gun to shoot animals that would eat me. On the good side he wrote: I am not dead, like everyone else on the ship. The ship is beached close enough to land, so that I can retrieve many of her supplies. It’s hot and I don’t need clothes. There aren’t any animals that would eat me. In other words, there is always a reason to rejoice and to give thanks.
In fact, the Bible says, “In everything give thanks” (1 Thessalonians 5:18) Notice it says we’re to give thanks–not for everything, but in everything. Though work might not be going well, though our bank might collapse, though our house might foreclose, though our loved one might die, though everything in our life appears troubling, nonetheless, we’re to rejoice—not in the problem, but in the Lord, and we’re to give thanks to Him always.
I’m reminded of the words of Habakkuk, “Though the fig tree may not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines; though the labor of the olive may fail, and the fields yield no food; though the flock be cut off from the fold, and there be no herd in the stalls—YET I WILL REJOICE IN THE LORD, I WILL JOY IN THE GOD OF MY SALVATION” (Habakkuk 3:17-18) These words by Habakkuk were spoken on the eve of the destruction of his country, and yet, he chose to rejoice in the Lord and be thankful to Him.
My point is this: There will be times in our lives when we can see no lightening up on our circumstances and no satisfactory good in how we perform our job. Everything we encounter looks dull and dreary. The brightness has dimmed to darkness: That traffic collision that killed an entire family; that beautiful young wife and mother who was diagnosed with terminal cancer; that precious baby that drowned in the backyard swimming pool. We cannot pretend that we are not affected by these events. And yet, in the midst of them, we are told to rejoice in the Lord and be thankful to Him.
I will be the first to admit this is impossible to do–in and of our self. But I can also admit that only as our faith remains strong in the Lord, will the Lord give us strength to rejoice and give thanks to Him.
“My flesh and my heart fail; but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever”
Don’t ever stop rejoicing and giving thanks,
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