Rejoice means to be happy, but here are some synonyms that I find great because I like the way the words sound: to celebrate, to delight, to exult, to glory, joy, to make merry, to revel, and to triumph.
My in-laws moved recently, and while they were packing up they went through some of their books and let me have a look at ones they didn’t want. I saw a few Charles R. Swindoll books and decided to nab them. I didn’t really look at the titles, and this week I started reading one as part of my daily quiet time.
As a melancholy, choleric person, imagine my utter dismay when I took a good look at the name of the first: Maybe It’s Time to… Laugh Again. Bummer. I am a serious person. I don’t giggle much, unless it’s because my kids induce it. But I thought it was worth a try so I dug in.
My first thought was that I don’t know what a joyful attitude looks like. There’s a scene from one of my favorite movies, Tombstone, in which Wyatt Earp is talking to Josephine Marcus and she asks him if he’s happy. I love his response; it’s so totally something I’d say!
“I don’t laugh all day long like an idiot, if that’s what you mean.”
Ha! Neither do I, Wyatt. Neither do I. But despite it’s issues, my nuclear family home did have its share of laughter, and so does my own as a married woman with children. I have been known to raise eyebrows in public with a belly laugh that would wake the dead.
Still, I know I am not naturally a joyous person, so I asked the Lord, this past Sunday, to mold me into a joyful person if I needed an attitude adjustment in that area.
So, I moved on to my Bible reading and came across this verse:
“Always be full of joy in the Lord.” – Philippians 4:4
Boy, howdy. The floodgates opened. At the service later that morning, our pastor preached on the following verses:
“Rejoice always,pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” – 1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18.
Did you get that? Rejoice always? Yup. And throughout the sermon the pastor interrupted his speaking for us to sing a few verses of song, and in every case the word “rejoice” was mentioned. Ok, God. I’m listening now!
Yesterday, this Bible verse came to me during my quiet time, from Colossians 2:7 – “…Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with happiness.”
Ok. The Lord has shown me that yes, I absolutely need an adjustment in this area!
My question is, how does a person become joyful? That begs the next question – what does that look like?
I don’t know, and whether you want to or not, I’ll tell you when I learn more. What I do know is that I have spent most of my life, give or take eight years or so, struggling with sorrow and rage. It is a constant, daily, incredibly huge burden to bear, and I am weary, Lord. So are the people who love me in spite of it!