I love people who read the Bible and go with the parts that say, Rejoice! They seem to know about a party the rest of us have missed.

They aren’t ignorant of the bad things that go on in our world. They know, they care, they pray and they reach out.

But somehow, in the middle of it all —and often in spite of personal tragedies—the good news is always at the forefront with them.

Their sins are forgiven; they have eternal life! God IS, and He really is their friend! What’s not to rejoice about? This is the “big picture” and this is what they focus on.

Telling the world, sharing the joy, is their call in life. They bind wounds and heal hearts. They are encouragers, assuring the lost that God is real and Jesus is alive and looking for them with love.

They encourage the rest of us too, by helping us focus on eternity’s values.

They know that although at the moment the road may seem long and weary, it is not. It’s a breath, a flash, a mote in the air of infinity, and we have a truly glorious forever ahead. So no matter what the present holds, we can look forward and rejoice, too.

Now, I realize that while all that sounds wonderful, the fact is that sometimes rejoicing is difficult and joy is only a memory. If we have somehow fallen into a truly deep emotional pit, telling us to rejoice may just set our teeth on edge.

What do we do then?  We look for a cause. 
Sometimes we’re in the midst of mind-boggling tragedy, and we have to be open and waiting for the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, to complete His work, to carry us through, to heal our souls. And He will. 
Sometimes, though, the problem is simply relational—trouble with a spouse or children or a friend, for instance. In this case, we need to lay down our pride and be quick to listen, to apologize, or to forgive. Always we need to remain faithful in never-give-up prayer.
Sometimes the problem is spiritual and “interior”—maybe a favorite sin we haven’t forsaken or an ungodly association we haven’t abandoned. Or perhaps we’ve simply been ignoring God. All these things destroy our peace.

Sometimes the problem is physical: Exhaustion can create a huge set of emotional difficulties. Perhaps we need to rethink our priorities and cut away unnecessary activity that is draining our bodies and minds.

Or maybe we have recalcitrant hormones or a chemical imbalance, and somehow we can’t get on top of the thing with spiritual disciplines alone. Don’t hesitate to seek the help of some wonderful doctor. This is not unspiritual! This is a merciful provision and blessing from God to help set our systems right again.

Dark times call for honesty, soul searching and serious repentance. These are times to press hard into God. They are times to keep company with prayer warriors and rejoicers, and times to call for wise counselors. God has told us to bear one another’s burdens. We were never meant to fight our battles alone.

Once we have abandoned our pride and availed ourselves of the wisdom of the anointed helpers given to us by God, we will be able to climb the dark mountain that has blocked our view of the lights in the Father’s house—where the party is—and rejoice again.

Some believe the prophet is speaking poetically when he says that nature has a voice with which to worship God. But I believe it’s true. After all, Jesus said that even the stones could cry out in praise. So when the whole restored earth sings and claps its hands and bursts out in a riot of joy, I’ll sit and laugh to hear its praise, and say, “I told you so.”


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