Lesson for the Lord’s Day

Rejoice in the Lord alway, and again I say rejoice. Philippians 4:4

In 1915, two Welsh brothers, George and Felix Powell, submitted an entry in a competition for the best morale-boosting song for the war effort. Their entry – Pack up Your Troubles in Your Old Kit Bag – not only won first prize, but was later described as the most optimistic song ever written. It became the most famous marching song of the First World War. George wrote the words and Felix composed the music. Surely we would think these were two good-natured joyful lads. But something was tragically wrong, at least with Felix. In 1942, he shot himself to death with his own rifle. The joy that he poured into his famous song was only temporary. The world’s joy is always temporary, unlike the ability that the Lord gives Christians to rejoice always.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting that you and I are bursting with smiles and chuckles all the time. Not every day is a ride on a fluffy cloud. Tragedies and accidents happen. Disease hurts. Heartaches are all too frequent. It’s often a struggle to keep the corners of the mouth turned upward. And we all know some folks who say they are Christians but their faces are long and their moods gloomy. And yet, Paul is not expressing an ideal here when he tells us to rejoice always; he is expressing a real possibility. And he gives us the key to being able to rejoice always.

The words ‘in the Lord’ make all the difference. On a good day, you and I can rejoice in the knowledge of sins forgiven, the prospects of Glory, the hope of eternal life, the support and comfort of the Holy Spirit, and so much more. On the bad days, we find solace in the knowledge that the best is yet to come and that blessings will not be hindered or denied in the long run. Grief at the departure of loved ones is always tempered with the the sweetness of knowing separation is only for a little while. The knowledge that we are in the Lord allows us to rejoice despite tears, heartache, and pain.

Is it easy to rejoice today? Give thanks for that! Is it hard to rejoice today? Give thanks that it is only temporary! -Jim MacIntosh

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