“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again; rejoice.”
Phil. 4:4 (NIV)
The Apostle Paul challenges his readers to express joy at all times. He even repeats his advice. He must mean it!
This thought interests me. Paul wrote this while he was in prison. Was Paul rejoicing because he was in prison? That’s not what he tells us. He tells his readers to ”rejoice in the Lord.”
How can we find joy in circumstances the world looks at as dire? We know the Lord God is with us as we go through our daily routines. We also know He is with us when we happen upon things we can’t handle.
A friend of mine lost her sister a few weeks ago. Two weeks later, her brother suffered a heart attack. When people heard of the brother’s ordeal, they immediately thought of the fact that she had just been through the loss of her sister.
When I saw her later in the day, she said she could feel the prayers. She could rejoice over the fact God was with her.
When we find ourselves backed into a corner by harsh circumstances, we have to learn to search for ways God is able to act on our behalf. Will he allow us to sense His presence? Will He cause us to remember a song of praise or a passage of scripture? Will he send someone to come alongside of us and support us through prayer? Yes, because we know He does these things for us, we can rejoice in the Lord. We can do it as Paul advises-always.
Last year I read the book, 1,000 gifts by Ann Voskamp. She learned to trust God more by recording His gifts to her in a journal. I tried this last year from late May until the end of the year. I enjoyed the exercise so much; I started over on New Year’s Day. I am thankful to know that I have already recorded 522 gifts from God this year. I give praise to Him each time I record a gift.