Glory in his holy name;
let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice. (Psalm 105:3)
Rejoicing is not something for the faint of heart. It is not something we should entrust solely to those for whom happiness comes easily. To rejoice in the LORD is to offer up to God our whole selves—body, mind, and strength—grateful for what we’ve been given and expectant to be put to good use for God’s glory.
In Philippians 4:4, the Apostle Paul writes –
“Rejoice in the Lord always;”
Then, because it was so important, he repeats himself:
“I will say it again: Rejoice!”
We can; we should rejoice in every situation – through the highs and the lows – because we know God is working everything out for the best, and we want what is best in our lives. When it seems life is not right, when things are not going well, it is natural to feel persecuted by God. We can come to believe we have fallen out of favor with the LORD, that God has abandoned us. Yet, still, we are called to rejoice – not only for God’s sake, but for our own. Rejoicing sets our hearts and minds straight – in a right relationship with our gracious God.
I often fall short of the ideal of rejoicing always. When I do, it helps to be around people who have the gift of encouragement. As someone with bipolar, I tend to isolate myself, particularly when I go through depression. At these times, however, perhaps more than ever, I need to be around people who keep me rejoicing along my way.
If you do not have an encouraging friend or family member, I would urge you to find someone in your church to serve in this way. If you do not have a church, keep looking diligently, worshiping weekly, until you find one. It is so much better to rejoice together than to grumble alone. While it may be possible to be “in Christ” and not be a member of a church, it is a little like trying to run a marathon with an amputated leg (and not a good prosthesis).
The best rejoicing comes when we unite our hearts together with other children of God who annoy us, whom we find impossible to understand, whom we love in spite of our differences. As we seek together for the Lord in good times and bad, we lift up a shout of rejoicing that makes our journey more bearable and keeps us moving forward in faith.