Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Philippians 4:4
For some reason many Christians take this verse as meaning we should be happy no matter what happens. I have cancer, praise the Lord. Out of work, praise God. Spouse die, hallelujah. But that is not what Paul is trying to tell us. Even Jesus wept when He looked on Jerusalem before the crucifixion. So if Jesus could feel sadness at the Jews continued disbelief, why can’t we?
The answer is we can and we should. One needs to look at the word rejoice. One of the definitions of rejoices is “to give joy to”, Some synonyms are delight, glory, joy, exult or triumph. I think the closes to what Paul is trying to say is exult or glory. Or even better praise. Joy is the synonym that comes close to being happy and joy in the Lord is not the same as being happy. We can feel Joy in the worst of time just as we can rejoice in the Lord in the worst of times.
We can rejoice and praise God no matter what the circumstances. When I thought about this verse the Casting Crown’s song “Praise You In This Storm” came to mind. I think the chorus sums up what we are to do:
And I’ll praise you in this storm and I will lift my hands
for You are who You are no matter where I am
and every tear I’ve cried You hold in your hand
You never left my side
and though my heart is torn I will praise You in this storm
It is easy to praise God when times are good. It gets harder when everything seems to be going wrong, yet that is exactly when we need to praise Him the most. While it may not seem like it that is when He is closer to us guiding us through the storms of life. Picking us up when we stumble, dusting us off and setting us back on the road.
Praise Him when we are happy. Praise Him when we are sad. Praise Him when we are hurting. Praise Him always. Praise Him.
Have a blessed day,
Ps: I will be out tomorrow having my annual colonoscopy. I rejoice that I live at a time and place where I can have the treatment and diagnostic tools to control my colitis and detect any cancer early.