Somebody in a foreign land shared a Live Facebook Feed with me. It appeared to be an all-weekend youth convention. At about 2 o’clock in the morning, their time, a brother in his early twenties began to preach. His lesson was called, “Rejoice Always.” He was loud, direct, and funny, and even told a brother, as the night and his sermon went on, “Don’t fall asleep now!” In his youthful energy and excitement, he told his young audience often, “Rejoicing is a command.” I appreciated the 7000-mile invitation, and I indeed, “Rejoiced!”
Sermons about joy are vital. They draw our hearts and minds toward our home with our Saviour. Otherwise, the sadness that engulfs the lives of most will overcome us too.
Over the span of a lifetime there are many upsets and sorrows that are common to all. It goes without saying that death and disappointment cannot be avoided. But such is the impact of life’s setbacks upon some, that they never really leave the realm of sadness. For this our hearts should break.
I once visited a home of strangers in which hung a life size portrait of a teenage boy. His parents, then well into retirement age, said that he had been killed in a car accident at 16-years-old. Their love and loss were with them to that very minute. Some things are not to be “gotten over”—how can they be?
The rejoicing that scripture commands is in that which can never be taken away from us—the love of God! When called, we ran to the side of Christ and took his yoke upon us. There we found strength for our labours and rest for our souls.
You are not being commanded to “Rejoice always” for what you are yet to have, but instead for that which is in your possession now.
You and I are the Prodigal child of whom the Father said:
“But we had to celebrate and rejoice, for this brother of yours was dead and has begun to live, and was lost and has been found” (Luke 15:32).