Your Reason to Rejoice
Thank God for His blessings. Surely the Lord has blessed you in many ways. I encourage you to take time to recall His goodness and thank Him like David did in Psalm 103:
Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget none of His benefits (vv. 1–2).
The Lord expects us not only to enjoy His blessings, but also to express our gratitude to Him and openly give glory to God.
What about the hard times? Perhaps during this bygone year you can recall more trials, disappointments, sickness, loss and tears than blessings, and you have a hard time finding anything for which you could thank God. Yet as believers we are instructed to
Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus (1 Thessalonians 5:16–18).
Does this Scripture mean that a mother is supposed to rejoice and thank God for losing her child to a terrible disease? Should a wife rejoice that her marriage is falling apart because her husband is an alcoholic?
No, that is not at all what this Scripture says! God Himself is deeply grieved by all the tragedy, sickness, pain and destruction His creation suffers because of the fall of man.
Rejoice always. When we take a closer look at this Bible passage, we discover that it only tells us that we are to rejoice always. It doesn’t say at all that we should be shouting for joy over the bad things that befall us in this sinful and corrupt world. The apostle Paul clearly names the subject for our rejoicing:
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! (Philippians 4:4).
Jesus is our reason for being able to rejoice, even when we shed tears in the midst of struggles and grief. It’s a paradox the world will not understand. Our ability to experience joy in our trials comes from focusing our hearts on Jesus and what He has done for us.
Something wonderful happens when we begin to reflect on how Jesus laid down His life for our salvation, how He forgave our sin and wrote our names in the Book of Life, how He filled us with His Spirit and promised to come back to take us where He is.
Suddenly our hearts are comforted and lifted up in faith. We begin to recognize that our trials and pain are temporary, but our future is glorious and eternal. That’s when we can rejoice in the Lord in truth.
In everything give thanks. This Scripture would indeed be nearly impossible for us to obey if it would require from us to thank God for the tragedy that our child is blind or that we are unable to feed our families. However, if we read it carefully it only instructs us to give thanks in everything. That means we should thank God in the midst of our difficult circumstances.
But what could we possibly thank God for if we are hurting and don’t understand why all these disappointments and trials are happening to us?
The Bible gives us detailed instructions about the things for which we should thank God:
Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; for His lovingkindness is everlasting (Psalm 136:1).
Our knowledge and confession that God is eternally good, loving and kind—this is the rock we can stand on when nothing else makes sense. This truth tells us that we can trust our heavenly Father even in the most difficult times of our lives and that His thoughts are all good toward us. He alone knows the end from the beginning; one day we will recognize that He didn’t make a single mistake when He said “no” to something or permitted us to go through a difficult trial.
When God sent His Son to this world, He took all our fears away regarding His love for us. Let us love Him back by rejoicing in His gift and thanking Him for His lovingkindness.
May the Lord bless you and help you trust Him fully.
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