Rejoice: It’s always the right thing to do

As the rhythm of my life changes with all the little ‘chirps’ nearly flown, and I wonder what the new tempo will be like, I’ve been reminded this week that it is always fitting to rejoice in the Lord.

When all else sways, moves, leaves empty, disappoints, here is One who is constant and unchanging. Everything else is subject to change but Him.  I’ve been realizing how much I have to rejoice in this week but also recognizing that my rejoicing has to go beyond these earthly reasons because they’re so fickle.  It was great to spend time with family, such a wonderful lot of family.  I’ve been so blessed. There are all sorts of joys and things to praise God for but I guess what I see is that  as we grow up so life’s victories and struggles get bigger too.  It’s as if the flip side of every praise is a cause for prayer. It can all seem too big for me and then I’m reminded: Rejoice in the Lord always.  He is, after all, the LORD of all of it!

Whether in Ezekiel or Ephesians or somewhere in between there are endless reasons to rejoice in the Lord. I’ve been collecting them this week. Can I share them with you?

For starters, we are members of His body!—He nourishes and cherishes us.  He gave himself up for us to sanctify us, to wash us clean with His word, to present us to Himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that we might be holy and without blemish. Imagine it. Believe it. Incredible! [Eph.5]

If there were nothing else to rejoice in today, this would be enough.

It is always fitting to rejoice in the Lord—this Lord who has us in His care, who counts us His own cherished sheep,

who gives life and hope where once there were only dry bones,

who softens hearts that once were stone,

who brings to repentance and restores relationships,

who saves His own from their backslidings and makes them fresh and clean,

who prompts and answers the prayers of our hearts,  [see Ezek.36]

who makes Himself known in unexpected places—in lions’ dens and fishes’ bellies, in storms at sea and  quiet walks…

This is our God. This is our LORD.  Aren’t you glad?!

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I took a stroll in the woods this afternoon. It was too balmy a day to stay indoors—70 degrees with 70% humidity.  Splendid.  I huffed up the side of Scout to sit a while overlooking the Strait, couched in thick moss, barefooted, bare-armed, a soft breeze cooling my face…No agenda. Can’t see what’s ahead, only that change is imminent. Don’t know how to plan for it except to follow the Spirit’s lead and rejoice in the One who is unchanging…So I sat sketching roughly the scene before me—the graceful arbutus, the distant islands, the sea in between and the dark stands of fir trees– sketching as a means of slowing down to savor this moment, this beauty.  Then I started a scattered listing of reasons to rejoice in the Lord.  It looked something like this:

Rejoice in the Lord

unchanging

faithful to love

compassionate

near

aware

mighty to save

a wonderful counselor

Strong

My Helper

My Refuge

In Charge

Patient

Kind

All-Knowing

With me. Always.

And I pulled out Philippians for a read-through of this classic text on joy no matter what.  Paul commends rejoicing in the Lord as always fitting, always a smart safeguard.  Some days its easier than others. Perhaps these days recharge our batteries and re-set our hearts for those to come.  They certainly raise me above the temporary reasons to cheer or groan…

Meanwhile a hymn came to mind. I could still hear its echoes from last Sunday’s glorious rendition. We were back at our alma mater on the prairies with a host of folks who really know how to sing hymns—with energy and harmony and deeply felt confidence.  It gave me goosebumps and is still ringing in my heart.  I wrote down the words I could remember and had to look up the rest here. How fitting for such a setting as this afternoon’s:

1 I sing the mighty power of God
that made the mountains rise,
That spread the flowing seas abroad
and built the lofty skies.
I sing the wisdom that ordained
the sun to rule the day;
The moon shines full at his command,
and all the stars obey.

2 I sing the goodness of the Lord
that filled the earth with food;
He formed the creatures with His word
and then pronounced them good.
Lord, how Thy wonders are displayed,
where’er I turn my eye:
If I survey the ground I tread
Or gaze upon the skies.

3 There’s not a plant or flower below
but makes Thy glories known,
And clouds arise and tempests blow
by order from Thy throne;
While all that borrows life from Thee
is ever in Thy care,
And everywhere that man can be,
Thou, God, art present there.

–Isaac Watts 1674-1748

Amen and Amen! And that’s Someone worth rejoicing in, always!

–LS

What tops your list of reasons to rejoice in the Lord?  I’d love to hear.  Drop a comment in the box or send along an email…

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