“Rejoice in the Lord, you righteous, And give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name.” Psalm 97:12
“Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!” Phil. 4:4
“Rejoice always” 1 Thess. 5:16
I was publishing my latest little devotional online one day when a happy sunshine-y little weather forecast some organization or business or other had posted caught my eye. I hurried onward to get back to my writing work, but felt drawn back to the super short posting because I so strongly sensed there was a message in it. A message I don’t believe the person posting it had probably intended.
“Clouds are clearing…Enjoy the sunshine!” I absolutely LOVE sunshine, and I LOVE warm weather, and I LOVE a beautiful day, and I LOVE consistently beautiful weather. Some people love the clouds and rain and cold weather. I most assuredly do not! So reading a little posting telling people we should enjoy the sunshine because the clouds we had experienced were clearing away made all the sense in the world to me. But I have come to find a most wonderful, albeit challenging, exception to needing the clouds to clear away to rejoice.
We all experience clouds in our lives. We all experience storms at times. We experience trials, temptations, tests, hard stuff, gloomy stuff, sad stuff, challenging stuff, circumstances that seem to cast clouds over our lives, over our hearts, over our minds, over our thoughts, over our everyday experience of life. Isn’t it freeing, and exhilarating, and joyous, and worth celebrating and rejoicing when those clouds and storms and trials and tribulations and such clear away so we can take in a big gulp of fresh air and enjoy some serenity, some peace and quiet, some rest and relaxation, some good news and easy if not easier times?
I believe the Lord wants us, and that we can, and that we should, and that He even commands us, and calls us, and teaches us if we’re willing to diligently study His Word and learn to live by it and if we are willing to not only believe in Him, but follow Him, and receive the gift of His Spirit, and be ever filled with His Spirit, and learn to be led by His Spirit, and draw ever closer to the Lord, learn to REJOICE, to be content, to be joyful, to be thankful, to praise Him, to rest in Him, to trust in Him, to celebrate, NOT ONLY when the clouds clear away but right in the midst of being under them, right in the thick of the storms, right in the middle of the trials, when we face the temptations and tribulations, no matter our circumstances, for one reason alone.
THE LORD JESUS CHRIST. If we will diligently and devotedly give ourselves completely over to Him, casting our troubles upon Him, taking His yoke instead, pressing into Him, committedly living to honor and please the Lord, repenting when we need to, chasing after Him passionately and relentlessly, I believe as the apostle Paul learned and taught that we can be content and rejoice no matter what we experience in our everyday lives, clouds in the sky or sunshine in the sky, clouds in our circumstances or sunshine in our circumstances, because of Jesus.
Is this easy? No! Does it come naturally? No! To live joyfully regardless of what the weather forecast is for each and every day in our lives, to rejoice continually, this joy and rejoicing must come in Christ, must be learned and practiced, experienced and most assuredly tested, as we learn to stop looking to the weather forecast, to our circumstances, to determine how we feel each day, but to look to the Lord Jesus Christ, to ever learn how to increasingly keep our focus on the Lord and His Word, and to celebrate His lordship, His forever reign, His salvation, and His unfathomable love, for all who place their trust and lives in His everlasting loving hands. Enjoy the sunshine! Enjoy the SON OF GOD! Rejoice – in the Lord!