Most people are well familiar with these verses, I know, but I’d like to share my thoughts on this particular passage, of which I’ve been reading over and over again this week and last. It’s been a hard past few weeks, and this passage somehow keeps drawing me back. I’ve been doing some thinking about some of these specific verses.
Philippians 4:4-7, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
The first thing that strikes my mind is the very first verse, as I’ve already mentioned I’ve been going through some harder stuff recently, and I’ll focus on this one primarily today. I’ll get to other parts of the passage hopefully soon. Meanwhile, I admit that that’s been a concept rather far from my mind – I’ve just been trying to survive, not rejoice!
Now I’ll be one of the first to tell you that I don’t like it when people shove that cliché statement at me. “During the hard times, just rejoice! REJOICE REJOICE REJOICE!” Usually, it only makes it worst, quite honestly.
But the fact of the matter is, it’s still a truth that I must live out in my life.
Rejoice – always? Even when life disappoints you? Even when darkness surrounds you? Even when you’re so overwhelmed you can hardly move?
Paul places a definite emphasis on this concept of rejoicing, which I find interesting. He states it not once, but twice, finding it important enough to bear repeating. Rejoice in the Lord… always. He doesn’t give exceptions here. He doesn’t write, “Unless you’re dealing with this issue,” or “Unless you’ve got this going on over here.” Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
We wrinkle our noses at such a thought. When the tears are falling and don’t seem to stop, and life is overwhelming and it makes me want to quit, I don’t see anything to rejoice about. When life stinks, it’s hard to rejoice. It’s just a fact.
But Paul isn’t asking them to try to rejoice. He’s not bribing them, begging them, pleading with them. He states it simply, matter-of-fact: Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
The truth of it is, we do have reason to rejoice, even during our darkest hour. We may struggle to remember, struggle to see what we have to rejoice in. But that doesn’t change it.
We have the love of our Father to rejoice in. We have the truth of His grace and mercy to rejoice about. His goodness, His undeserved gift of salvation, His freedom – this is what we can rejoice about. Because even in those dark moments, even when we want to throw in the towel and give up on life, He loves us. That never changes. His love for us is something that will carry us through the mountains and the valleys, something that will never die or fade away. We have our Lord Jesus Christ to rejoice in, even through the trials.