Saturday, February 26, 2011

complaining or rejoicing?

Philippians 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
Psalm 33:1 Sing joyfully to the LORD, you righteous; it is fitting for the upright to praise him.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------Habakkuk 3:18 yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------Corinthians 6:10 sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------Philippians 3:1 Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------1 Thessalonians 5:16 Be joyful always;

It is easy to complain. We all do it from time to time - we want sympathy and so we say things to make others see what a hard place we are in with our lives - physically, emotionally, socially, financially etc. he facebook phenomenon makes me very aware of how easy it is to complain. Sometimes I go online to see what my friends and family are up to - and I come away just shocked and saddened at the lack of rejoicing I see from status updates. I fall prey to this too.

Today, I was struggling with the sudden change of plans my husband and I faced for our weekend. We planned to head over today to my parents and spend the night (relatives are in town so we want to spend as much time with them as possible!) BUT - Joshua has too much homework and I am not in good enough shape to walk across the ferry which is what I would have to do if he didn't come. We decided with the help of my sweet mama to wait and head over in the morning tomorrow - so that he has a day for homework and I have a day to sleep and law low. I was so excited about spending the night away and getting to hang out with my sweet little neices and sister tonight - maybe watch a movie and eat pop corn. But it didn't work out. I was temped to be angry about these circumstances and feel horrible because I hate that my health is so unsteady that I don't know when I will feel good enough to do something or not. But God reminded me today that He is still God. He is still with me. And He has plans that are beyond anything I can plan.

I know that some of you are reading this and are mad at me because this story is relatively nothing compaired to the reasons you have today to complain. I know that some of you are facing horrible circumstances in your life today. But I also know what the Bible says: that we are commanded (not a light suggestion) to rejoice always. The reason we can rejoice always is because we rejoice IN THE LORD. We can look at a painful circumstance and even though our flesh is sad we can choose to rejoice because of the Lord and that we know He will work all things for His glory and our greatest good. Even a horrible circumstance can be used for our good and God's glory if we are willing. This goes against so much of what is popular these days. Complaining is popular in a way, as people are encouraged to just say how they feel no matter what. The change from complaining to rejoicing needs to come first in the heart and the relationship of trust in God and then it will begin to see seen by those around us.

I really don't think that to rejoice in the Lord always means that we should be dishonest about what is going on in our lives. I think honesty is needed. But I do think that it means we need to choose the atitude we have in responce to the hard circumstances around us. There can be honesty with rejoicing rather than complaining. Stating a fact about what is going on with your life is one thing, seeing sympathy and pity is quite another.

This is a lesson I am learning right along with all of you! May we all dig deeper in our walk with God so that we can choose joy in every circumstance.