“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” Philippians 4:4
The late entertainer Joe E. Brown once said, “I have no understanding of the long‐faced Christian. If God is anything, He must be joy.” How true! We have a God who loves us more than we love our children or even ourselves—a God who sent His Son to die for us and who has prepared a place in eternity just for us. He is indeed a God of joy—and we have much to be joyful about!
This is a lesson I had to learn the hard way. When we were first married, Jim and I taught school, served in the church, and carried many responsibilities. Jim was working on his master’s degree at the time, so he wasn’t able to help me carry my load. I looked forward every week to Saturday, when I could rest and recuperate. Gradually, I fell into the trap of being truly happy only one day a week. And if anything took that day away from me, I was very frustrated. Slowly, I learned to enjoy every day of the week, even though I was busy. It was a simple change in attitude that brightened my life. Someone once said, “If you have to cross the street to be happy, you’re not seeing things properly.” I agree.
There are many “long‐faced” Christians who are caught up in the trials of this world. It’s not always easy to remember that we can experience joy even in the midst of struggles. We forget that Jesus told us that our worldly grief would be like a mother giving birth: She experiences pain during labor, but then forgets her anguish because of her joy over the birth of her child (John 16:21). We forget that the apostles, after being flogged on orders of the Sanhedrin, left there “rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name” (Acts 5:41).
Joy is something we experience when we begin to understand the magnitude of God and the love He freely gives us. It’s not something to be grasped, but shared. It’s not something to be contained, but made available to all. Joy is a selfless, abundant quality modeled by our Lord Jesus. He is the one who has called us to “rejoice” and “leap for joy” when we are poor, hungry, weeping, hated, and rejected, because “great is your reward in heaven” (Luke 6:23).
Joy can begin right now—if we choose! “Rejoice in the Lord always…!”
- Shirley M Dobson