Rejoice in the Lord…Always?


Has someone ever spoken something that just broke you in the best way possible? I’m not talking about mean or hurtful words. I’m talking about truth- when God’s spoken word just breaks you and you know you’ll never be the same.

Last night was Growth Group- that’s what we call our Bible study group that meets every other week. We are currently watching a Matt Chandler video that is taking us through the the book of Philippians. If you’ve never heard of Matt Chandler, you should look him up. He’s the pastor at The Village church located here in North Texas, and he’s got an amazing testimony & passion for teaching God’s Word.

His teaching last night broke me. Seriously, crushed me to the core. So much so, that I almost got up and walked out. He taught over the following verse-

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand.” Philippians 4:4-5 (ESV)

This is a pretty popular verse, chances are you’ve heard it. Let me explain why it crushed me.

During this video session Matt was talking about how this scripture calls us to rejoice in the Lord…always. Every second, of every day…rejoice. He said that’s easy to do when things are going well… but what about when things aren’t so great? What about when life falls apart?

He used the example of the time his son fell into a seizure. Barely breathing, he had to be rushed by ambulance to the hospital. In the chaos of things, his wife hopped into the ambulance and Matt followed in his car. As he was trying to keep up with the ambulance, he fell behind and eventually lost them. Not knowing what hospital they were headed to, he called his wife and she didn’t answer. Basically he said he found himself sitting at red light, completely lost and completely helpless.

It was at this point in the video where he said, “In tragic situations like that, when there’s nothing we can do… How do we rejoice in Lord then?”

I can’t tell you how mad I was while he was preaching this message. I kept thinking, “What about Gideon? How am I supposed to rejoice in his suffering? How am I ever going to be able to stand at his funeral someday and still rejoice in the Lord???” Thankfully the Holy Spirit must have kept me in my seat, because the anger that was flourishing within almost made me leave the room.

Matt went on to say, that the key was in the last part of the verse. Let me show you-

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand.” Philippians 4:4-5 (ESV)

We can rejoice, every second of every day of every week of every month of every year… because the The Lord is at hand. He is near. We’re not rejoicing because we are happy about our situation, but because the Lord is with us. In that horrible, terrifying, and seemingly hopeless moment, the Lord is right there by our side.

I’m sure you have been in a moment like that. Maybe you are there right now. Maybe you’re like me, and you know the storm is still a ways off, but it’s coming. The clouds are looming in the distance and the forecast is bleak at best. Listen carefully to God’s word- “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!….for the Lord is near!”

I love the rest of chapter 4 in Philippians. Take a second and read the verse in context. 

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. 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 4:4-7 (NIV)

In the midst of my anger last night I realized that I may never understand why my son was born with PBD. But I also realized in my brokenness, I want to experience God’s peace over it, so I’ll rejoice. Not because the circumstances are great; but because God’s word tells me that when I rejoice, He’s with me. He is close to those who are brokenhearted (Psalm 34:18) and He’ll never leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).

And for that, we can rejoice… Always.

8 thoughts on “Rejoice in the Lord…Always?

  1. Reading that brought me back to my favorite verse: My precious ,precious child, I love you and I would never leave you. During your times of trial and suffering, when you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I CARRIED you. ( AND HE WILL) we must believe that HE will….it’s ok to grieve and still believe ..((hugs))

  2. That hit me hard, reading it. Thank you for that. It’s like when people say “be grateful” when you’re in the middle of something tough- it can be infuriating, because it’s hard to focus on that when you’re dealing with something painful- but you remind me that if nothing else we can be grateful that He is with is through it all. Love you sweet friend. Praying for you always.

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