By Kristin Schultz
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice (Philippians 4:4 ESV).
When we watch or read the news, it’s hard to find good things happening. War rages and civilians suffer from starvation and disease. Wildfires destroy homes and businesses. Floods and hurricanes sweep away livelihoods and treasured memories. Governments imprison dissenters and violently persecute missionaries.
Now look closer. Are you being bullied at work? Are you or a family member struggling to keep a marriage together? Are you watching a child, spouse, or co-worker caught in the claws of addiction?
It’s easy to rejoice and praise God when things are going well; it’s much harder to rejoice in times of suffering.
The apostle Paul knew about suffering. He was imprisoned not once but twice, before ultimately being executed. Today’s Bible verse comes from Paul’s letter to the church at Philippi. When he wrote it, he was likely under house arrest, under constant surveillance and unable to move about freely. He was a prisoner, yet he was encouraging his readers to rejoice!
Your Savior, Jesus, also knew what it was to suffer. He suffered beatings and death on a cross, but he also grieved the death of his friend Lazarus. He watched with anger as money changers desecrated the temple. He saw the pain of the blind, the lame, and the demon possessed. He ate with society’s outcasts—prostitutes and tax collectors. Jesus walked in our broken world and knew our human pain, experiencing much of it himself.
But just as Paul rejoiced in suffering, we, too, as Jesus’ followers, are created to rejoice in all circumstances. We can rejoice in the face of hardship because we are not alone—our Savior walks with us. Because Jesus has promised us everlasting life, we can rejoice in our suffering—we know it is only temporary.
Most of all, we know we are made to rejoice because rejoicing brings glory to God! When we rejoice in good times and in struggles, we acknowledge God’s glory in our lives and in our world. He is in control and promises to work everything for the good of his creation (Romans 8:28) We are made to rejoice in God our Savior, always.
Prayer starter: Dear Lord, help me rejoice in all circumstances, especially as I deal with . . .
Editor’s note: Today’s devotion is slightly adapted from the devotional book Woman of God®: Wonderfully Made.