Why Joy Is Never Dependent on Our Circumstances
By Debbie McDaniel
Editor’s Note: I open every Sunday morning service at Christ Church, and begin many of my prayers with; "This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. "
Although I repeat this verse almost everyday I didn’t realize, or had forgotten, that the writer of this Psalm was actually writing it in the face of adversity.
Psalm 118:5, 10-13 (ESV)5 Out of my distress I called on the LORD; the LORD answered me and set me free. 10 All nations surrounded me; in the name of the LORD I cut them off!
11 They surrounded me, surrounded me on every side; in the name of the LORD I cut them off! 12 They surrounded me like bees; they went out like a fire among thorns; in the name of the LORD I cut them off!13 I was pushed hard, so that I was falling, but the LORD helped me. (emphasis mine)
He was saying that he rejoices even though the circumstances of the day are not good, because the Lord has made that day and He will still praise him.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (ESV)16 Rejoice always,17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (emphasis mine)
"This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it." Ps. 118:24
Many of us may have heard this verse over long years.
But what's interesting to know is that it's set right within a Psalm where the author is writing about huge adversity. It's not written about when times are good, but when times are hard. Situations were changing. The Psalmist cried out to God in anguish, he was surrounded on all sides by the enemy, he felt pushed back, and about to fall. Yet right in the midst of huge struggles shared, this chapter both starts and ends with the same verse, of giving thanks and praise unto God.
"Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, his love endures forever." v. 1,29
Such a powerful reminder to us: True joy is never dependent on our circumstances. We can still choose to give thanks. We can still believe in God’s goodness and love, for that’s what carries us through all difficult seasons.
We might be facing the toughest of times, but the truth is this, He's still given us today. He's with us, and will never leave or fail us. His love covers us, His peace sustains us, and His joy gives us the strength to face every trial and obstacle with courage and grace. We can rest in the security that Truth brings.
May His blessings overwhelm you today as you look to Him and choose joy.
- Give thanks.
- For He is good.
- His love endures.
No matter what you’re facing today, be confident in God’s unchanging love for you. If He’s given us today, then we still have breath left within us to bring honor to Him. Choosing joy in hard times takes effort and action on our part; it requires our hearts to be set on Him. May He help us this day, to choose well