Hope Rejoices

happygirl

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!  Philippians 4:4

Let all who take refuge in you be glad. Let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you.  Psalm 5:11

When we rejoice in the Lord, we raise our hearts above our current circumstances to praise the goodness of who He is. Rejoicing is lifting our souls to see God’s unchanging faithfulness and goodness. As we rejoice, we reach out to hold on to the hope we have in Christ.

Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me. Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God.   Psalm 42:5

The Psalmist articulates transferring his soul’s hope from the despair of his circumstances to praise for his God. Though I can’t find dictionary or root word proof of this, I have always seen the word rejoice as having the prefix “re-“ which means again. Add that with the “joy”- and I see it meaning to find joy again. Rejoicing is taking our soul back to that place of joy with the Lord again.

Shout for joy, O heavens, rejoice, O earth; burst into song, O mountains. For the LORD comforts His people and will have compassion on His afflicted ones.  Isaiah 49:13

Isaiah commands all of creation to rejoice because God comforts and has compassion on His people. So even in affliction, we can rejoice. Why? Because God is near with comfort and compassion. We are not commanded to rejoice because of the affliction, but to rejoice because God is near in the affliction.

Joy comes second in the list of the fruit of the Spirit found in Galatians chapter 5 – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. When we are filled with Jesus, we are filled with joy. And it is Christ’s joy within us that enables us to endure through life’s hardest challenges.

Children very often have an incredible ability to hold onto joy. Their world may be filled with great pain and difficulty, yet their spirit holds onto a joy that overrules. As mothers, we can set aside our own pain to take in the joy of our children and hold on through the hard. We can rejoice because our children rejoice. Their simple, trusting faith and hope can encourage us to do the same.

The joy of the Lord is your strength.  Nehemiah 8:10

An acronym for JOY is Jesus, Others, and You. We can find JOY in seeking Jesus first, then serving others, then thinking of ourselves last. In our difficulties, we often turn those around. We look first to ourselves and our own strength, then possibly to others for help, and lastly to Jesus. The problem with looking first to ourselves is that self-pity often overtakes us, and robs all joy.

My college roommate had a note on her mirror that said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Looking around at all the good others seem to be experiencing keeps us from trusting God with where He’s placed us and how He’s blessed us. We can easily look at mothers of “normal” children and get caught in self-pity, losing sight of the goodness of God in our lives. We focus on what we do not have, rather than rejoicing in all that we do have.

As beloved children of God, we can rejoice in God’s presence and His peace, His care and compassion, and His help and hope. Let’s learn to lift our souls to Him and rejoice in Him- even in the hard.

Restore unto me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit to sustain me.  Psalm 51:12

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