Happiness Isn’t Required to Rejoice
By Meg Bucher
“This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” - Psalm 118:24 ESV
“Don’t draw from the pile when there’s a wild card in your hand.” My husband repeated the proper UNO rules to my nine-year-old, as our oldest drained all the hot water for her shower.
“Mom… it’s your turn.”
Life is transitioning from when bedtime was a pretty reliable staple to an era where our kids stay up later than we can. Change can tempt us to assume something is wrong. Our youngest needs to move until her head hits the pillow, which pushes every parental button trying to decompress at the end of the day. Instead of battling her behavior, we play UNO. We celebrate who she is alongside her, and peace prevails.
Psalm 118:24 says, “This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” (ESV) Not tomorrow. Not yesterday. This is the day. Though change can be challenging and transition trying and tiring, we are to rejoice and be glad in it. So often we pray for it to end, or for things to return to what we once knew. But life keeps moving. For those of us who love and follow Jesus, we’re always growing in maturity towards a heart like His. It sounds as beautiful as it is, but the everyday reality of growth pushes us out of our comfort zones.
“Rejoice” in the original Hebrew, means to rejoice, exult, be glad, but also to tremble in fear. We can be fearful or uncomfortable without losing our joy. When we rejoice in the Lord, knowing our joy is rooted in Jesus, we are glad. It reminds us He’s got us. He has a plan, a purpose, sits sovereign overall and loves each of us.
Philippians 4:4 says, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.” (ESV) Always, including in times of suffering (NIVSB), “rejoice always.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16) The verb in these verses could be used as a salutation, or at the beginning of letters. Imagine if we greeted each other with “Rejoice!” Why shouldn’t we be glad? We have a Savior who has conquered death so we may live a full life here on earth, and on to eternity with Him in heaven.
When the daily grind turns everyday joys into mundane annoyances or change and transition threaten to rip up the roots of peace amidst uncomfortable circumstances …rejoice! Rejoice, not to minimize hard times and tragic pain, but to re-center our souls on the hope of Jesus.
Life will constantly shift, banking around sharp curves and sneaking up on us with challenging seasons. But God remains the same. Jesus walks through it all with us. Our rejoicing doesn’t have to look like a worship concert. It doesn’t even have to don a smile. The life-giving stirring of our souls comes from simply recalling what we know. There’s nothing extraordinary about playing Uno on the couch while we watch tv, but it reminds us peace doesn’t have to look organized or make sense. We just have to remember to pause and let it reign over our circumstances and solutions.
Meg Bucher writes about everyday life within the love of Christ. She stepped out of her comfort zone, and her Marketing career, to obey God’s call to stay home and be “Mom” in 2011. From that step of obedience her blog, Sunny&80, was born, a way to retain the funny everyday moments of motherhood. Meg is also a freelance writer and author of “Friends with Everyone.” She loves teaching God’s Word and leading Bible study, being a mom, distance running, photography, and the Cleveland Browns. Meg resides in Northern Ohio with her husband, two daughters, and Golden-Doodle.
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