Always Rejoicing in Him
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How do we, despite what may be going on in our lives and our communities, adopt an attitude of rejoicing in Him, regardless of circumstance?
Simply put, these past few years haven’t been great for everyone. The pandemic raging across the globe has caused loss of life, loss of livelihoods, and the devastation of economies. The Ukraine-Russia war is causing rising prices worldwide. Countries are going through their own political turmoil. And on top of all of that, we each have personal situations that aren’t always easy.
In South Africa, the pandemic caused unemployment rates to rise rapidly (Trading Economics, 2022). In a country already battling with crime and poverty, more unemployment is something we really don’t need. The evidence of it is everywhere. In the suburb of Cape Town where I live, homelessness increased at an alarming rate with people setting up tents and other temporary structures on the sides of the road, in parks and in storm water pipes.
I’ve realized how easy it is to harden your heart towards them, it becomes so normal to see and dismiss, and starts infringing on your safety as crime increases as the economy declines. Thankfully, I’m a part of a church and team (CBN) that has a huge heart for people. From social justice teams at church that support organizations in the area—and organize regular outreaches in the community—to humanitarian efforts aimed at restoring dignity.
The amazing thing about being surrounded by a community with a heart for the impoverished and lost is that you get to interact with people you wouldn’t have on your own accord. Through these interactions, it’s humbling to hear their hearts of gratitude towards God. Each sandwich they receive, each blanket that gets them through the cold winter, and every kind word spoken to them... they thank God for it despite their obviously forlorn situation.
It often makes me ask myself, how do I respond to God? Do I find myself moaning and complaining more than rejoicing in thanksgiving? Am I lost in anxiety over finances despite all that I have? Do I reject those who are different from me even though God tells me to love them?
My husband and I take our dog on daily walks after work. I love this time together because our energetic dog needs exercise and we need sanity, and my husband and I get to catch up on our days and connect without distractions. More and more we found ourselves complaining about things we should actually be grateful for. We made the conscientious decision to stop ourselves and each other from complaining, and chat about things from a place of gratitude and hope. This way of talking to each other has fed into how we view what we have and the way in which we pray. We’re a lot more grateful to God for His provision, grace and goodness and we find it easier to rejoice in Him, worship at church, and view strangers with softened hearts.
Sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything. (NIV)
As we consider the condition of our hearts and look at those around us, let’s ask God to work in is and through us, that we may adopt an attitude and lifestyle of rejoicing regardless of circumstances. Then we will be encouraged and will encourage those around us.
Scripture is quoted from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
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