On a day like today, it is easy to rejoice in the Lord. The sun is shining, the bees are buzzing through the blooming trees, and laughter is drifting up from the dock. The meals today have been some of my favourites, and there is a game night with friends happening later tonight. It is easy to thank God for the beauty of His creation, for His physical provision, and for the blessing of community life.
These are good things that should not be taken for granted and should absolutely inspire praise and thanksgiving to the Giver. But what about when physical blessings such as these are not present in our lives? What are we supposed to thank God for then? In Philippians 4:4, Paul encourages the people to “rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” Paul gives no conditions. He does not say, “rejoice when the sun is out,” or, “rejoice when your belly is full,” or even, “rejoice only when you have a smile on your face.” No, Paul says, “rejoice always.” Rejoice when your bank account is empty. Rejoice when you receive that rejection letter. Rejoice when your car breaks down. How? Why? Because “the Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:5-7).
We are not called to rejoice only in our circumstances; rather, we rejoice in the Lord Himself. We rejoice in the Lord because of His mercy and love for us. He is good, far beyond anything that we deserve. When the car breaks down, we can rejoice in the fact that our Heavenly Father sees and knows our need. He may not provide in the way we are hoping or expecting, but we can be assured that His plan is infinitely better than ours. Paul says to pray with thanksgiving in every situation, “and the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” An immediate answer is not promised, but an assurance of His love is. There are plenty of days when I am only thankful for Jesus Christ’s Life, which is enough. It is enough because it is not a fleeting feeling. It is an absolute. Jesus is the ultimate object of our thankfulness because He will never leave us nor forsake us. There is always something to be thankful for because there will always be Jesus!
As we go about our days, it is important to respond to the blessings of the Lord with thankful hearts, but it is of utmost importance to respond to His most lavish blessing – His Life in us.
By: Alysha Myers