This is the day which the Lord has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it. (Psalm 118:24).
Easier said than done, isn’t it? We face aches and pains just getting out of bed. Rejoice? The teacher mentions behavioral issues and says a conference is a must. Rejoice? Bills crowd the mailbox in sums greater than cash in the bank. Rejoice? The doctor calls with test results. Rejoice? A news alert reports horrific tragedy — another mass shooting. Rejoice?
There seems to be no mistaking that directive. Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! (Philippians 4:4)
I’ve long considered each new day a gift from God — and that is, indeed, something to rejoice about. Sometimes I tear through the wrappings just to see what’s in store; other days I’m more like those who cautiously take a peek at what’s ahead as they slowly pull the tape away.
Yet, as each new day unfolds, as each gift is unwrapped, do I always find that something in which to rejoice? I can’t say that I do. In fact, hearing of the recent school and public shootings sickens me. Hate sickens me. I do not rejoice in hate. While wondering about the shooters and their upbringing, I remembered a lesson from my own parents — hate what is evil, but hold on to what is good. That’s excellent advice and one day while reading a devotional from Romans 12, I discovered from where such words of wisdom originated. Good can overcome hate, and that’s definitely worth rejoicing.
I assume I’m like most parents, when I’ve heard of an unfathomable shooting at a school, a university, a shopping mall, a dance club, or a restaurant, I’ve always stopped to think of my children — certainly rejoicing for their well being, but aching for those parents whose hearts are breaking.
And it’s in such times, I pause and ponder if I equipped my children, as my parents prepared me, to adequately face the world as young adults as they hurriedly rip into their own hectic days of the unknown.
They learned the differences in right and wrong long ago, but I find myself questioning if I modeled the right kind of life lessons for them to carry on. Did they see me honor others above myself? Do they see me being joyful in hope and patient in affliction? Have they seen me being nice to those who are not so nice to me?
I know they understand that love must be sincere and that it’s love that cements our devotion to one another, and seeing that played out in their lives is certainly a source of joy.
More often than not, it’s easy to be happy with those who are happy...rejoicing with those who rejoice. But when it comes to heartache, be it terror on the homefront, or tears on the porch next door, I pray my children will be people who take time to mourn with those who mourn, and following the lessons of the apostle Paul, understand that for as far as it depends on them, to live in peace...to not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Thank God, there’s still good in the world today...and that is something to always rejoice about.