“Rejoice evermore,” 1 Thessalonians 5:16
“. . . Happy are the people whose God is the Lord!” Psalm 144:15
Happiness. Some say it’s overrated. I tend to disagree. The Bible speaks over and over again about being blessed, happy, joyful, glad and rejoicing. With so many different ways of saying it, I believe the Lord has made His point. He wants His people to be absolutely elated in who they are – His child!
Too often, we as Christians are waiting for conditions to be right before we choose to be happy about it. That’s contrary to the Word of God. Many times when we see words synonymous with being happy in the Bible, there is usually a counterweight of circumstances which doesn’t seem favorable or applicable to happiness. Take the Beatitudes for instance:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called children of God.
Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
Rejoice, and be exceedingly glad for great is reward in heaven . . .”
What the Lord Jesus Christ did was point out numerous circumstances of life that would normally account for not being happy. But, by putting a statement of happiness in the front of it, He was relating that one doesn’t have to wait for the tides to turn in your favor to declare that blessedness. The Beatitudes are about going through the storms of life even when the waves seem adverse and still seeing the promise of heaven at work. Even when it feels overwhelming, to the point of feeling totally surrounded by trouble. Jesus said happiness can still be found during those times.
How? “Rejoice, and be exceedingly glad for great is your reward in heaven.” I WILL NOT trivialize anyone’s hardships in life. There are some unimaginable things that people have to face every day that hurt; that disappoint. Situations that seem to do all they can to strip away one’s faith. Our Lord is not denying the hurt, but what He is saying is there is still a reason to be joyful.
It would be totally unrealistic for one to tell another not to be upset over a wrong committed. Yet, we have a deeper revelation that beyond this mess there is a reward. Oh yeah, this stuff here stinks. But, over there – AWESOME!
We may go through trials and tribulations like anybody else, but one thing we have as opposed to them is the comforting presence of our Heavenly Father. “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me,” (Ps. 23:4). How can one not feel a measure of joy and comfort at words spoken such as these?
It just makes me feel that no matter what I am going through, I can “Rejoice evermore,” because, He is there. He knows. He comforts me. He’s thinking about me. He hears my prayers. He sees the tears I shed. I can feel His presence bottling every one of those tears up, working to wipe them away. I may cry, but I can also rejoice because I have a true, living God who loves me and cares for me.
Not just words of rhetoric but words of substance. Words that make me happy in spite of it all! Today, I choose to be happy because I am in Him, and He is in me. “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning,” (Ps. 30:5). The tears may cloud over my eyes and fall down my cheeks, but eventually, it has to move and make room for the happiness I have in Him. I am blessed.