Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!Philippians 4:4 NASB
Really, Paul? Always?
If only Paul could travel to our time and understand what we’re going through right now, maybe he would get why we just don’t feel like rejoicing all the time. A pandemic, racial tensions, protests, riots, forest fires, hurricanes, an election year, delayed school starts, closed businesses, cancellations, lock-downs, and deaths–among all the normal struggles of life. Don’t even talk to me about political debates, masks, toilet paper, hand sanitizer . . .
But, then, there wasn’t anything like toilet paper or hand sanitizer in AD 61. At least, not like Cottonelle and Purel.
Would Paul get why rejoicing always is difficult in 2020?
I think he would.
It’s important to consider where Paul was when wrote the letter to the Philippians. He was most likely at the end of his two-year imprisonment in a rented house. He visited with anyone who came to see him and shared the gospel with them.
But, he was under house arrest. For preaching the gospel.
So when we consider our current situations in light of Paul’s encouragement to rejoice, we need to remember that Paul had little to rejoice about while awaiting execution. At least, by human standards.
He doesn’t stop there. He goes on with his encouragement to the Philippians. We benefit from that encouragement by the reading the verses that follow. I will reflect on those in other posts.
Maybe we don’t feel like rejoicing all the time, but there is always a reason to rejoice. Maybe, like Paul, we have people in our lives we love who support and encourage us, and we can’t help but thank them and encourage them right back.
That seems like a good reason for rejoicing to me.