Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace ofGod, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.-
First of all it is rather interesting to note that Apostle Paul wrote this letter while in prison. I guess if it was me and you in the same situation, its probable we could have wrote ” Brethren, cry again I say cry!”
When life sucks a great storm of turmoil rages within our inner being; and to rejoice as we are commanded seems utterly ridiculous and doesnt make any iota of sense.
When you know you are failing grades, lost your job, you know your spouse is failing you, the inner pull is to give up, crawl in, shut out, embrace the failure and live in a depressed, lonely state by yourself.
When you thought you finally found the perfect career and suddenly you realize you hate it more than your last choice, it seems there is no other option but to give up hope and join the masses of passionless, joyless, soulless slaves stuck in rush-hour traffic to and from their prisons called work.
When we look at all the outer problems surrounding our lives, we can‘t help but think there is zero possibility for the joy we feel guilty for not having because we know a good Christian should not feel this way.
And with all these problems swirling around us to our amazement, sometimes, despite all our pleas regarding the difficulties in our lives, God seems to be silent. Why?
Perhaps, if we are truly listening, listening not for what we want to hear but for what God is trying to teach us through his silence on our prayers regarding all our problems – perhaps we will see he his silent because we are praying about the wrong things entirely all the time.
C.S. Lewis states, ―I know now, Lord, why you utter no answer. You are yourself are the answer. Before your face questions die away. What other answer would suffice?
To rejoice in the midst of being drowned in poor financial choices and then put up a smile on when your marriage is a mess doesnt make sense.
All you want to do is run to your sinful comforts, or to try and find happiness through acquiring things is not what God commands.
God‘s command to rejoice always must be placed in its full context or it will be an impossible and cruel command.
God did not say rejoice always, he said, ―Rejoice in the Lord always.
This is a very different command.
Suddenly the demand of God for us to be joyful Christians is no longer dependent upon what is happening in our crazy lives but upon Christ.
God requires us to rejoice always, even when your marriage is falling apart, your kids despise you, your boss wants to fire you, and you have some part to play in deserving these feelings from others.
God requires us to rejoice even when life sucks because in Christ we still have life.
He didn‘t tell us to rejoice in our circumstances but to rejoice in the Lord.
A great wave of relief will break upon the shores of your soul when you suddenly realize you can
be happy even if life on this planet is not providing that happiness. There‘s still hope even when the life you‘ve built for yourself is offering no hope.
God is saying that the joy he is offering is totally separate and non-contingent upon what is happening in your life.
Your days on earth will be unstable, but Jesus Christ who reigns in heaven is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8), and therefore to ―rejoice in the Lord is a command that can always be accomplished because God will never let you down.
Your marriage may really be in trouble, your workplace may really be worse than most, and your sinful wonderings may truly be depressing.
But there comes a time in life when we either let all of that go and stop demanding these things make us happy, or we keep hoping they will and we forever remain unfulfilled.
The simple truth is this: Life, at many times, is really going to suck.
The sooner you come to grips with the reality that we really do live in a broken, dysfunctional universe that will constantly not live up to our expectations, the sooner we can grow up and find the real solution to our joylessness.
Despite the shocking realization that the life you hoped for as a kid is never going to be found as an adult, God remains faithful, and in the silence to our prayers for relief to our outer problems, God is seeking to teach us a greater lesson.
In the midst of all that is happening, he is trying to show us that he alone is the answer.
It‘s worth noting that when God tells us to pray about everything in Philippians 4:4-7, he doesn‘t promise that he is going to solve everything we are praying about. What he does promise is that the peace of God, which surpasses understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
When we pray about our problems, the relief is not going to come because God solved our outer problems, though he may do that many times. The relief is going to come, and the justification to rejoice always will arise, when we come into the presence of God in Christ Jesus.
For true joy is not the absence of troubles but being in the presence of the Lord.
The answer to our joy will not be found anywhere else in life; for God himself is the answer, he alone is the Life.
Remember life isnt fair all the time but God is good and fair all the time.
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