Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
There are some things you can’t choose. For example, you cannot choose your parents, your height, or your circumstances in all seasons of life. Some of the situations we find ourselves in are indeed products of our decisions, but many are not—they are the results of choices others make that affect us, or what providence deals to us. The present conditions I am in may not have been what I would have chosen for myself at all—they could be harsh and hurtful, difficult and potentially deadly. But, it may well be that I have no choice in experiencing them—they have come, they are real, and unavoidable.
There is a choice I can make—and should at all times—the choice to rejoice! Joy is deeper than happiness. Happiness is an emotion that depends on happenings—if what is happening to me is perceived as good, then I feel good, but the feeling quickly fades when I experience what I consider bad. Joy is of stouter stuff—made of the work of the Holy Spirit in me. He produces that supernatural fruit as I yield to His perfect and pleasing will. In my heart, I know this truth: God is unchanging and always good, even in the changing circumstances of life, whether good or bad from a human perspective. He has promised to work all for my good (
Rom.8:28), and faith lays hold
of that in choosing to rejoice in Him.
Unwavering praise is informed and inspired by unceasing prayer. I spend time with an all-wise God and bring my needs before an all-power Lord who can either relieve my pain or give me grace to endure—and He will do one or the other. Prayer isn’t persuading God to do what I think best, but bringing my desires into alignment with His designs. He might change my situation, but what He wants most is to change me—and make me more like Jesus. This He has promised to do—and in this I can always rejoice. As Jesus prayed that most important prayer in
Gethsemane, “Not my will, but Yours be done,” so I
You have a choice to make right now. Make the choice to rejoice!