The amazing depth of joy
Rejoice in the Lord always, I will say it again, Rejoice! Phil. 4:4 We live in a world whereby it seems that joy somehow gets lost in the daily interactions and circumstances of life. The reason is that depression, a psychological malady, seemingly stands at the forefront and looms in the balance in every segment of society. This phenomenon of depression is pervasive among people of every culture. Depression and depressive circumstances seem to be the reason that too many people have a dim outlook on life. If one would ask the question as to why? Perhaps the answer would be that life doesn’t go the way they want it to; maybe there’s a chemical imbalance of their central nervous system; or maybe they just lack the social support and affection that people should provide one another. Also, it may be that so much news in our society is quite depressing in nature. Regardless of the reason, our dampened and fallen nature often results in sadness and emptiness; and void of the many reasons to rejoice in the Lord.
The apostle Paul points us to a remedy as he writes to the church at Philippi from a dark prison cell. It does not solve everything for every depressed person, but it has a great deal to do with how we approach life in general. Paul tells us to “rejoice.” And he specifically says, rejoice in the Lord. In examining Paul’s words of encouragement, one will be reminded, we are His children, and He has done great things for us. Whether we frequently recognize it or not, feel it or not; regardless of how we perceive our lives or the things around us, God has done great and wonderful things for us that are worthy of exuberant celebration; not just on special occasions, but every day of our lives. Paul’s words employ all believers, always and in every circumstance to rejoice in the Lord.
Of course, a knee-jerk reaction by too many people to such a mandate: “rejoice always” is to maybe complain about why we cannot. One may even say that Paul just does not understand the situation you are in and haven’t experienced the daily beat-downs and unfavorable circumstances of the times in which we live. Perhaps it may be also that you think that God has not dealt as bountifully with you as with others. But the question becomes, can you? Regardless of what is going on in your life right now, can you find it in you to praise God for His blessings? Do you have the wherewithal to simply bless his Name for who he is? His divine goodness? When you do, you will be amazed at the result: Life somehow will grow more worthy of our joy. REV. DR. JAMES TAYLOR III is pastor of Jericho Baptist Church in Farmville. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.