Summary: There is cause for rejoicing even during the worst of times.
Is your life sometimes filled with trouble? Do good friends turn out to be not such good friends after all? Have you been passed over for promotion? Are you separated from your family because of your faith? Or perhaps people have ridiculed you because of your Christian faith. Maybe you’ve suffered some serious physical handicap, illness or disfigurement. What can you do about it when the going really gets tough?
Well, you can always curl up and feel sorry for yourself, or you can hate the whole rotten world and everybody in it. Why not? They’re no good! None of them! Look what they’ve done to you. On the other hand, maybe there’s another thing you can do. You can REJOICE!
Now you’re probably thinking something to the effect of, "Rejoice!? When things are really bad he wants me to rejoice? Is he crazy?" No, I’m not crazy. I’m a Christian, and because I’m a Christian I know that no matter what happens, for me things are and always will be absolutely great. I know this from the words of our Lord Jesus, and from the words of the Apostles contained in this book we call the Bible. Read with me please John 11:25-26
25 Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; 26 and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.
Being a Christian means to believe in Jesus and accept him as your savior. If then, you are a Christian, you have everlasting life. But being a Christian also means to live in Christ’s love, and nothing can ever separate us from that love. Read now Romans 8: 35 - 39:
"35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written:
’For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.’
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Can we rejoice when things are bad? Oh Yes! Jesus has promised us everlasting life, and Paul tells us that nothing can ever separate us from the Love of Christ. No matter how bad things go during our earthly lives, we are secure in Christ’s love, and we know that we shall never die. There’s more. Revelation 21: 4 tells us that "He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain,…." Christians who truly believe these things are able to rejoice in the worst of circumstances.
A young lady I knew, her name was Carla, was born in 1950. As a baby and as a young girl she was pretty and full of fun. But then in her early teens something went wrong. Carla’s appearance started to change and in a few years she became very ugly, and she knew it. Hear her own words about the effect on her life:
" Most of my life I had to struggle with feelings of inferiority, of being unlovable and of having no value. By the time I was in high school I was something of a loner. I retreated from what to me was a painful reality by escaping into a world of books and daydreams. Thoughts of suicide were not unusual for me. I never followed through because I didn’t want to cause my family pain. There was also the vague fear that there might be something beyond death for which I was not prepared."
One night when Carla was seventeen she was at home alone. She was surfing through T.V. channels looking for something to watch, and happened across a broadcast of the Billy Graham crusade. For some reason she decided to watch for awhile. As she watched and listened to the message something suddenly came over her and she cried out to a God who she didn’t even know for sure existed, "Oh, God, if You’re there and can hear me, please show Yourself to me!" She didn’t know it at the time, but God heard her, and He did respond.
A short time later she became friends with a girl who was a new Christian and was bubbling over with enthusiasm for the Lord. Carla started attending services with he new friend, and six months later gave her life to the Lord. She attended Northwest College of the Assemblies of God where she majored in Biblical Literature and Christian Education. She became a licensed minister. She was now finding joy in life, but more was coming.