“Rejoice always.” ~I Thessalonians 5:16
I‘m sure that whether you are a Christian or not, you have heard that the shortest verse in the bible is John 11:35, “Jesus wept.” While this is true on one hand, there is a verse that rivals it for the two-word title and that is a passage found in I Thessalonians 5:16, “Rejoice always”.
While the two verses seem to have a world between then in meaning, I want to encourage you of how they both give us a reason to rejoice and empower us to do so in the Lord God Christ Jesus.
In John 11, we find Christ Jesus at the tomb of His beloved friend, Lazarus who has passed away, and Jesus, fully understanding the grief of those around Him wept along with them. He being, fully God, and fully Man took on the role of complete friend and shared in the sufferings of those around Him even though He knew what He was capable of doing as the God of all creation.
Even with His infinite power, He allowed Himself to weep.
Sometimes when we face hardships in life, we often feel guilty for being overcome by emotions. I don’t know about you, but there have been many occasions where I’ve had to remind myself that crying because of a situation does not mean I don’t have faith concerning the situation.
Just as my Savior wept in His sovereignty, you and I have the blessing of weeping in our salvation and hope.
When we face our ‘Lazarus’ situations, moments where life seems completely unfair and that which we were believing God for seems to have died, we may find it difficult to rejoice in anything at all.
You may even be thinking that the Lord’s prompting for us to rejoice is somewhat unfair.
But again, just as our Lord gives us peace of mind when we weep He also gives us the reason to rejoice.
These two verses, similar in their length, bless us with some key truths about the character of the God we serve and hope in:
- John 11:35 assures us that Christ Jesus understands our sufferings even as we share in His.
- I Thessalonians 5:16 reminds us that there is always a reason for hope.
The same way that Christ knew what He could do at Lazarus’ tomb, He is able and willing to do at the ‘tombs’ in our lives. In this, we can rejoice! The call to rejoice is a call to take a firm hold of our faith.
WE CAN REJOICE BECAUSE:
- We are Rejoicing in Him: Philippians 4:4 “ Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.” We rejoice in Who He is. We rejoice that He is soveriegn over every situation in our lives.
- We are rejoicing in Hope: Romans 12:12 “ rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer…”
- We know our Hope does not dissappoint: Romans 5:5 “ Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”
- We know Christ in us IS our HOPE: Colossians 1:27 “To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
- Becuase He is in us we are overcomers: 1 John 4:4 “You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”
- We overcome because Christ in us has overcome the world and its troubles: John 14:27-29; 16:33 “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. You have heard Me say to you, ‘I am going away and coming back to you.’ If you loved Me, you would rejoice because I said, ‘I am going to the Father,’ for My Father is greater than I. “And now I have told you before it comes, that when it does come to pass, you may believe… …These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
- He has counted us WORTHY to share in His sufferings and be persecuted on His behalf: I Peter 4:13″…but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.” Acts 5:40-42 “And they agreed with him, and when they had called for the apostles and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. So they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name. And daily in the temple, and in every house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.”
SO WHY DO WE REJOICE ALWAYS?
We rejoice because even though our lives may face sufferings and tribulations we know that in Him we have hope and our hope does not dissappoint, that He has counted us WORTHY to carry a cross to the glory and honor of His Name!
He, Christ in us has blessed us to overcome every situation and to bring us out gloriously because He loves and cares for us.
So let us not be troubled but truly rest and rejoice in the peace He has given us, the same peace He gave us right before He was betrayed and led to the cross in our place!
No matter what you are facing, though you may feel the need to weep, do so, but always rejoice. He is with you and you will overcome! And HE IS ALWAYS A REASON TO REJOICE!
~Poiema, Poetry in Motion
*Revised from February 7, 2017