The Basis for Rejoicing

How can we rejoice when everything seems to be wrong? Are we really expected to rejoice in suffering? What if we don’t “feel” like rejoicing? These are reasonable questions. We have been conditioned to rejoice only when things are going well. How can one rejoice in difficult and horrible circumstances? If our basis for rejoicing is only what makes us happy, we will do little rejoicing. There is not a whole lot of happiness. We have some periods of happiness, but they have a habit of disappearing. There is a way of having constant rejoicing! We can’t rejoice for what hurts such as pain, disease, death, financial difficulties, cruelty, etc. However, we can rejoice, if we have learned to trust God’s love, care, wisdom, purposes, etc. Two outstanding men of God furnish us with  powerful examples of trust. Paul and Job (as well as many others of God’s people) trusted and/or rejoiced while suffering. It’s obvious that they didn’t rejoice over the suffering itself. Their trust in God and in His promises, purposes and His Presence sustained them in the midst of their pain. Do you think that now they regret their trust in Him? God can give grace to rise above our circumstances. The writer of Proverbs offers sound advice that gives us a basis to rejoice, even in the furnace of affliction: “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6). It will be hard to trust Him like this, unless you spend a lot of time getting to really know Him and discover what He has brought about, using suffering as a means of accomplishing His higher purposes. In her hymn, Rejoice and be glad, all ye faithful,” Laura E. Newell offers these encouraging thoughts: Rejoice and be glad, all ye faithful, who trust and who wait on the Lord; rejoice, for His grace shall sustain you; abundant shall be your reward. Tho’ trials may often assail you, and though you afflicted may be, rejoice, He is mighty to save you; His goodness and love you shall see. Then onward, press onward, nor ever grow weary, tho’ sorrows befall, and dark be the way to His palace, for Jesus is guiding through all; He knows when our sad hearts are burdened, and pities each one in His fold. In tender compassion and mercy, His sweet words of comfort are told. He owns us, and calls us His children; to Him, to our blest Saviour King, be thanks and be glory for ever; His goodness we joyfully sing. And then, in the transport of rapture, in Heaven we’d worship the One,  Who calls every one to His kingdom, and guides till life’s labors are done. Rejoice and be glad, all ye faithful, who trust and who wait on the Lord; rejoice, for His grace shall sustain you; abundant shall be your reward.” Selah! Trusting Him is not a “feeling” but a firm uncompromising decision that is non-negotiable, regardless of circumstances.   Ron
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