Rejoicing in the Midst of Heartache
Recently at work we’ve undergone major changes, over the past year we have lost a lot of people due to babies, moves, new jobs or layoffs. Only empty chairs occupy the desks where people I worked with for years, used to sit.
Each person leaving has caused extreme sadness and a little heartache. But as the old adage says, “life goes on”... so the question becomes how we continue through life without letting these things affect us long term? In other words, how do we survive the heartaches and trials of this life?
Did you know that we have a promise of peace? In a world that functions on drama, we have promises in God’s word assuring us peace, His peace. Paul said in Philippians, “The peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” ( Philippians 4:7 nasb ). This promise is unlocked in the previous verses. The key, is to rejoice in all and every circumstance of life. Although it seems to be an arduous task at first thought when going through trials, the payoff, by far, outweighs the effort.
The Amplified Bible explains this magnificently, “And God's peace [shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcendsall understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” ( Philippians 4:7 Amp ). God’s peace is what shields both mind and heart at all times. There is no turmoil in Him, only peace. And he has promised it to us simply because He loves us.
Our world operates in chaos, but through Christ, we are not of the world. If we do not experience this soul peace it is because we haven’t used the Biblical key to release it in our lives. In the previous verses, Paul starts out with instructions on how to experience the peace that transcends all understanding, His strategy is to Rejoice. “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” ( Philippians 4:4-7 nasb ). Rejoicing overcomes worry and anxiety and releases God’s peace into your life.
The Bible gives us a great outline for rejoicing. First we are to rejoice in the Lord. Rejoicing can be defined as being glad, being well, thriving and joyful. We’ve all experience rejoicing in life, but Paul is describing a state of mind that can be manifested in our lives. Something that continually happens, not just situationally.
For this to happen we need to focus on the source of our joy, which is the Lord. The early church rejoiced in everything, if you search through scripture you will see they rejoiced in hearing the gospel, and witnessing it’s power ( Luke 10:20, Luke 19:6, Acts 13:48 ). They rejoiced when Jesus returned to the Father ( John 14:28 ). They rejoiced when they were beaten, publicly humiliated or killed ( Matthew 5:12, Luke 6:23, Acts 5:41, II Corinthians 6:10; 13:9, Philippians 2:17, Colossians 1:24, I Peter 4:13 ). They rejoiced in each other or when they heard good reports of other believers ( I Corinthians 16:17, Philippians 2:28; 4:10, Romans 12:15, II Corinthians 7:13; 16 ). The list goes on and on. So if the Greek word for rejoice is used for all of these circumstances, especially persecution, suffering, affliction, trials, there should be no excuse why we are not rejoicing in the Lord in any and every circumstance life throws our way! Paul even went so far as to say it again, so we would understand it’s importance...REJOICE!
Switching focus in the midst of situations gets our attention where it belongs, on the Lord and His kingdom. It allows His peace to operate in our lives and His voice to be heard in our hearts. The trials caused by living in this world have no hold on us when we experience the peace that God has promised us through rejoicing. Even though we still experience a little heartache now and again we are well equipped with the key to overcoming, so again I will say REJOICE!