After a seven-month-long absence of any kind of new posts on this blog (it’s been a little crazy… anyone else?), I wanted to dust things off around here with a quick word about rejoicing. Because, for most of us, when we think back over the last seven months, perhaps the LAST word that would come to mind is “rejoice”.
If you’re a worship leader and you’re reading this (or involved in ANY kind of church ministry), this has been the hardest, weirdest, longest year yet. And it’s not over yet!
And yet we have the Apostle Paul to thank for this exhortation, to “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice” (Philippians 4:4).
So how can a person rejoice, when all around that person are reasons not to rejoice?
When things are truly hard. When circumstances are truly difficult. When everything around you has been shaken. When everything in your daily life has been shaken. When everything in your church has been shaken.
How can we rejoice – and not only that – but rejoice always – in the face of such difficulties? To “rejoice in the Lord always…”
Therein lies the challenge. And therein lies the secret to it all.
The challenge is to rejoice. The secret to it all? Three words: In. The. Lord.
Yes, everything around you, and everything in your daily life, and everything in your church has been shaken. Yes, things are truly difficult. And we feel all that we’ve lost, and all of the upheaval, and all of the waiting. And we grieve and lament the sadness of it all.
But for those who belong to Jesus: Those who know that they know that they know that he is Lord over all, then even in the face of brokenness and darkness and sadness – maybe even especially in the face of those things – we are called to rejoice in the Lord.
This is a subtle distinction that really has the power to change your daily life during these difficult days. To give you the countenance, and the confidence, and the persistent joy of a man or a woman anchored to something unchangeable in the midst of constant change.
No matter the circumstance, no matter the loss, no matter the pandemic, no matter the brokenness, no matter what, we are secure in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Quick reminder, that as Paul wrote those verses, he was writing them from prison! We should listen up when someone writes us from prison and tells us to rejoice. And he was rejoicing! That the Gospel was advancing, that for him, to live is Christ and to die is gain.
He demonstrates that, when we are secure in Jesus Christ, then we can rejoice through the darkness. We can worship through the despair. We can praise through the sadness.
I love how Andrew Peterson puts it in his song “Rejoice”:
And when the peace turns to danger
The nights are longer than days
And every friend has a stranger’s face
Then deep within the dungeon cell
You have to make a choice
Be still and know that the Father
Will hasten down from His throne
He will rejoice over you with song
So set your face against the night
And raise your broken voice
And again I say
And again I say rejoice
May we continue to rejoice our way through 2020, whatever else it may bring. We are secure in the Lord. And so we rejoice in him.