“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thess. 5:16-18………….
“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” James 1:2-4…………
“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” Romans 5:1-5………….
“Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!” Romans 4:4………
When a loving friend received some bad news, the kind of news that might cause the average person to fall headlong into a number of challenging emotions, the Lord gave me a message to deliver to her that wasn’t just for her. It was also for me. And very possibly for you.
“I believe the Lord wanted me to tell you to REJOICE,” I told my friend. Then I gave her some scriptures to go with the message.
Many people, myself most especially, might have responded to such a message at a time of receiving tough news as rude, insensitive, inconsiderate, unloving, etc. But I knew my friend and her relationship with the Lord well enough to know how she would respond. Her heart was wide open. She took the message from the Lord and off she ran with it. Within about 24 hours, she reported back how she had started a Bible study on those scriptures and had gone digging even deeper from what I understand. I am quite certain that was not all. For she is not just a hearer of God’s Word; she is committed to doing it (James 1:22).
I have never received the kind of bad news my friend received, but I’ve received plenty of my own and faced a number of my own challenges through the years. Enough to know the last thing any of us facing hard stuff may want to do is to rejoice. But just as I knew my friend would discover in her study, and just as I have seen in my own studies, the Lord throughout His Word calls us to REJOICE regardless of our circumstances.
But how can we? By rejoicing that Jesus Christ is Lord. That all who repent and believe in Christ as Lord who died on the cross to pay our sin penalty and was raised from the dead and genuinely commit their lives to God and His ways are forgiven and promised an everlasting relationship with God. That God has love, grace, mercy, hope, peace, comfort, and countless other spiritual blessings for those who follow Jesus. That Christ’s followers can look forward to heaven where there won’t be one ounce of pain or darkness or violence or death or anything bad or hard not ever. That God is with His followers on this earth day in and day out. That God’s Spirit lives inside His followers and will lead, empower, and use us to bring glory to God. That we can call on Christ 24-7 and commune with Him endlessly on earth not to mention forever. That God gives us His Word to teach us how to live. That God grows us in His image and can and does use our trials to refine us. That God is our provider and protector. And on and on and on. Most of all, we can REJOICE that Jesus Christ is Lord, Savior, King, redeemer, healer, counselor, comforter, advocate, friend, rescuer, absolutely all that we need, and that we who follow Him are His forevermore! And the reasons for REJOICING go on and on – and are all about Christ who is Lord!
Jesus tells us we WILL have tribulations in this life, but that we can “be of good cheer [or courage or comfort per Strong’s Concordance]” because He has “overcome the world”. Through Christ and a life devoted to Him, we, too, overcome the world and have everlasting life. In His presence His followers will be forever. No matter the bad news we may receive and the tribulations we may face, we can look to the Lord and to His Word and REJOICE – IN HIM!
Our rejoicing is not then conditional and contingent on our life’s circumstances. Our REJOICING is contingent on THE LORD JESUS CHRIST! Hallelujah!