“Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again – rejoice!”
When people read this verse, it can often be confused with a notion that we should, as Christians, walk around constantly with a smile on our face, even when faced with sad news, tough situations, and gloomy circumstances. Although in Heaven, one day there will be an end to suffering, pain and sadness, that day is not yet. The reality is, we still live in a fallen world. Yet God has redeemed US. He has poured out Heaven over and in us. This means that we can have joy in tough and gloomy circumstances. It does mean that we don’t have to surrender to depression and sadness but can have joy.
What Paul was saying here, was that even in situations beyond our control, situations that can lead to sadness and sorrow, we still can have joy and peace, not in the situation, but in knowing that God is in control. It is not wrong to mourn or to be sad. Jesus too had times of sadness when He walked the earth. Can you imagine the sadness and sorrow He must have felt being crucified by the people He created. Yet the Bible tells us that it was His joy to suffer and endure the cross for us. This is not the Bible contradicting itself but rather, in our hearts, we can have joy, just like Jesus did, knowing that God is working, even in the midst of a storm, and knowing His ways our higher than what we can see in the physical. Let your trust in Jesus, be the anchor in the storm. Let your hope in Him, be your joy in pain and sadness.