Phillippians: Rejoice, really?

This morning I find myself angry. Not fired up angry, but angry in the way that resembles a boiling cauldron or a red hot furnace. It is not explosive anger, just heavily fueled emotion. I know it is not right, so what now? I am in no mood to pray, yet I know I need to. I have not acted on my anger, and I know that, so far, I have not sinned because of it. So, I ask again, “what now?”

As I was being honest with myself I was reminded of Paul’s admonition to the Philippians — “Rejoice!” My initial response is to want to choke the life out of Paul. And then I get it! Paul is not writing from his couch comfortably pouring out platitudes that sound great and have no meaning. Paul is writing from his prison. He is under arrest because he refused to be quiet, because he had to proclaim Jesus as the Messiah. He has no reason to rejoice, at least not in an earthly sense.

That is why Paul’s admonition cannot be dismissed. Paul is not delusional. He is not in some fantasy world. He is in the middle of real life hurt, and his message to his friends, who are suffering is, “Rejoice in the Lord!”

That last part is the key. To rejoice in trials is somewhat deranged. To rejoice in sorrow is not natural. So Paul does not tell his friends merely to rejoice, he tells them to, “rejoice IN THE LORD!”

So, how are you doing today? Angry? Sad? Depressed? Grieving? Focus on the Lord who brings joy despite circumstances. He can provide joy where none can be found without Him. You know what? I am still angry! But I know that what is making me angry is only temporary. So, despite the circumstances that are making me angry, I will rejoice. How about you?

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