The Path Toward Rejoicing
Happiness cannot be turned on like a tap. Joy does not come at the flip of a switch. As Christians, we have highs and lows like anyone else. Sometimes we feel great; other times we feel stuck. So what do we do with a command that tells us to be joyful continually—or, as the text has it, to “rejoice … always”?
Some people conceive of joy as something that ebbs and flows according to our circumstances. If this were so, the path to joy would be to ensure that our circumstances contain as many good things as possible and that we cut out anything, and anyone, that brings us down. But the apostle Paul offers us a different take. The Christian joy he describes is intended to be steady and stable. Paul clues us in to the source of this joy here: “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.” The key is the phrase in between “Rejoice” and “always”—“in the Lord.” Those three little words make all the difference in the world! If we let our joy ebb and flow with our circumstances, then we’re inevitably going to find ourselves in trouble. Hard times will come, sooner or later. But if we rejoice in the Lord, who is “the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8), then our joy is anchored in someone unchanging, and so it will be unfading.
Christian joy is a joy that can coexist with deep sadness. Your circumstances may bring you grief, but they need not extinguish your joy if you find it “in the Lord”—in who He is, how He loves you, and what He has promised you. Place your hope in Him and remind yourself of His unchanging nature and you will be on the path toward rejoicing always, even in hardship. Today, no matter your circumstances, you can find solace, rest, and, yes, even joy in the glorious truth that God is with you through it all and will one day set all things aright.
How is God calling me to think differently?
How is God reordering my heart’s affections — what I love?
What is God calling me to do as I go about my day today?
He Heals the Brokenhearted
1Praise the Lord!
For it is good to sing praises to our God;
for it is pleasant,1 and a song of praise is fitting.
2The Lord builds up Jerusalem;
he gathers the outcasts of Israel.
3He heals the brokenhearted
and binds up their wounds.
4He determines the number of the stars;
he gives to all of them their names.
5Great is our Lord, and abundant in power;
his understanding is beyond measure.
6The Lord lifts up the humble;2
he casts the wicked to the ground.
7Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving;
make melody to our God on the lyre!
8He covers the heavens with clouds;
he prepares rain for the earth;
he makes grass grow on the hills.
9He gives to the beasts their food,
and to the young ravens that cry.
10His delight is not in the strength of the horse,
nor his pleasure in the legs of a man,
11but the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him,
in those who hope in his steadfast love.
12Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem!
Praise your God, O Zion!
13For he strengthens the bars of your gates;
he blesses your children within you.
14He makes peace in your borders;
he fills you with the finest of the wheat.
15He sends out his command to the earth;
his word runs swiftly.
16He gives snow like wool;
he scatters frost like ashes.
17He hurls down his crystals of ice like crumbs;
who can stand before his cold?
18He sends out his word, and melts them;
he makes his wind blow and the waters flow.
19He declares his word to Jacob,
his statutes and rules3 to Israel.
20He has not dealt thus with any other nation;
they do not know his rules.4
Praise the Lord!
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