Rejoice Every Day

It’s a cool, wet day here in South Central Iowa, and I’m one of those people whose moods tend to follow the weather. If it’s sunny and pleasant, my spirits are generally lifted, but when it’s dark and damp, I can get a bit dark as well. It reminded me of a time in my life not so long ago when every day was filled with despair even on the most beautiful days. After living with chronic pain for so many years I’d convinced myself that life was miserable, and would always be miserable, and that trying to focus on the blessings was just wasted effort because the pain just ruined everything. Sounds like a fun life, doesn’t it?!?

This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it.

Psalm 118:24 (NKJV)

I still have plenty of physical pain today (in fact, the last couple days have literally brought me to my knees at times), but most days I have a smile on my face and a sense of hopeful anticipation of what’s to come. God has blessed me with the privilege of being a father of two wonderful kids, I’m married to a practical, emotionally stable woman who helps balance the dramatic gyrations of my own disposition, and a job here at the radio station that allows me to use my time and treasure in service to others for the purpose of bringing the light and hope of Jesus to the world. I’m not going to pretend that living with physical pain 24/7 for nearly 10 years now has been easy or fun; what I can say is that when my mind is focused on the good instead of the bad, my whole disposition changes and life gets much easier.

Joni Eareckson Tada talks about the challenges we all face in having a grateful heart in her devotional “Rejoice Every Day.” I loved her introduction:

Sometimes God must look at us and say, “This is a strange lot I created.” Take our reaction to the weather. Most of us delight in a warm, sunny afternoon with a gentle breeze. But how often do we express our gratitude to Jesus for great weather? Ah, but if hurricanes or floods come our way, then we go to God—but mostly just to complain.

When things are good, we’re ok - but when things get difficult, and our easy lives (at least compared to most of the rest of the world) are interrupted our hearts easily succumb to a complaining spirit, much like the Israelites wandering in the Sinai wilderness. I am totally guilty of this! So how do we get a change of heart? We follow the admonition of David in Psalm 118:24 - we give thanks to God for each and every day we’ve been given. Why? Because despite what each day may bring, we know the one who gives us that day is good!

Joni asks a great question, and then gives some solid advice on how to approach the uncertainties of life:

The Lord has made every day, and if we fail to give Him glory on pleasant days, how will we praise Him when highways are slippery or our flight is canceled by a blizzard? We need to make up our mind to rejoice every day, giving Jesus glory for good times and bad, knowing that all things come from His hand…and that He is good.

We may not be able to choose what happens in life - but we can choose how to respond. Let’s encourage each other to rejoice in the Lord each and every day!