Tag Archive for rejoice

Rejoicing in the Darkness

When our children were small, a severe ice storm struck Kansas City. Ice-laden branches fell across electric lines, killing power in much of the city. For three days we were without all electricity. Then it came on for a few hours, only to go out again for four more days. That was one full week in the dead of winter with no light, no heating, no cooking, no appliances – no anything.

Preparing meals was tricky. Keeping warm and entertained was difficult. But without question, darkness was the toughest part. I can’t adequately describe how oppressive were those long winter nights. They dragged on like months, and our whole frame of mind was affected. Even though we knew we’d eventually have power again, it didn’t feel that way.

Then, without warning, the lights came on. I’ll never forget our daughter, Kindra’s, reaction. Like someone had set her on fire, she spontaneously dashed through the house, waving her arms, laughing and yelling with hysterical joy. The rest of us felt the same but weren’t so uninhibited.

Darkness is the toughest part of many of our difficulties. We find a way to deal with the specific hardships and keep going, but the cloud of depression is the hardest to take. We go through long periods when all seems dead or dying, when we sense no encouragement and no hope of any kind. God seems the most distant in the areas that matter most.

Caught in such darkness, faced with an unknown future, our fears create their own version of reality. They imagine a world without God’s power and love. There we are forced to fend for ourselves against overwhelming troubles attacking us from every side. As we succumb to our fears, we live in that false reality, reacting to its imaginary circumstances.

During such times, I’ve discovered why the New Testament so strenuously and repeatedly urges us to rejoice in the Lord.

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!…The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything. (Philippians 4:4-6, NIV)

When pressures knock us out of focus and threaten our peace of mind, nothing helps like stopping to remember God. Look away from the imaginary world of your fears and from the grip of the temporary present. Look to Him. Recall out loud the unchanging truth about Him. Use your mind and your voice to rejoice in who He is and all He has done down through the ages. Recite in detail His many acts of love and faithfulness to you. Start, “Lord, I remember when . . .”

Say again, “Lord, I know You are with me. I know You are with me right now and always. And I will trust You.”

Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases power to the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. (Isaiah 40:28-31, NIV)

Listen and sing:
Hymn: A Life of Thanksgiving
Printed Music & Lyrics

Rejoice, Pray, Give Thanks

Rejoice in the Lord always…Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, 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. (Philippians 4:4, 6-7, NIV)

When I feel stressed, I tend to be impatient and
unkind to those around me.

Lord, help me make friends with
unfinished tasks,
unpleasant surprises,
uncertainties, and
feelings of inadequacy.
They are going to come.

How do You want me to react to them, Lord?

1. Rejoice in who You are.

2. Commit my need to You.

3. Give thanks for what You are already doing to meet that need.

Listen and sing:
Hymn: Good Gifts
Printed Music & Lyrics


The New Testament was not written in an ivory tower. Most of its authors and its first readers were people in deep suffering. Their pressures and persecutions were more severe than most of us will ever experience. Thus when the Bible tells us how to handle difficult times, it’s speaking from experience. Its wisdom is thoroughly life-tested.

What do the New Testament writers consistently emphasize for those who are suffering? “Rejoice!” “Be glad!” “Consider yourselves blessed!”

Strange advice? These sufferers give us lots of reasons why rejoicing is a healthy, productive, and reasonable response to difficulties.

1.       Suffering produces a whole garden of beautiful fruit within us, such as endurance, character, and hope (Romans 5:1-5). It strengthens and refines our faith, that essential connection between God and us (1 Peter 1:6-7). It produces maturity and gradually makes us complete in Christ, lacking in nothing (James 1:2-4).

2.       Suffering is our best chance to glorify God (1 Peter 4:16). The closer Jesus got to the Crucifixion, the more He talked about glorifying His Father. His greatest, most enduring work was accomplished on the Cross. There God’s love was displayed most purely and undeniably.

It will likely be so in our lives as well. Suffering will probably be our greatest chance to glorify God in a world that desperately needs to witness God’s reality in our life.

3.       Suffering is part of releasing what is temporary and grasping what is eternal and of greater value. While our outer person is decaying, our inner person – the real “us” that will live forever – is growing stronger and stronger, day by day (2 Corinthians 4:16).

4.       When we suffer for Jesus and for the spread of the gospel, we have been granted a great privilege! We stand with the greatest saints of all the ages (Matthew 5:11-12; Hebrews 11). Far from being disgraced, we are highly honored to be counted worthy of suffering for Christ (Acts 5:40-42; 1 Peter 4:16). We have become part of His great work to save the world (1 Peter 4:13). Paul said of his own sufferings, “In my flesh I am completing what is still lacking in Christ’s afflictions for his body” (Colossians 1:24, para.). As we suffer, we carry on what Jesus started.

5.       Suffering helps us enjoy more intimate fellowship with Jesus (Philippians 3:7-11). The One with whom we walk face-to-face was “a man of sorrows” (Isaiah 53:3). Suffering was a major part of His life experience. When we suffer, we share a deeper bond with Him.

6.       Our present suffering can’t compare, either in degree or in duration, to the joy we will know when Christ takes us to Himself forever (Romans 8:18; 2 Corinthians 4:17-18).

Rejoice! Suffering draws us closer to Jesus. As we trust Him, He turns even suffering into great blessing!

We will suffer,
but we need not fear suffering.

Listen and sing:
Hymn: I Rejoice in Your Purpose Today
Printed Music & Lyrics