“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
What a blessing to know that – though we may falter – God is faithful, steadfast, unwavering and unchanging. He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow (Heb 13:8). When we face challenges in our relationships with family or friends, grieving the death of a loved one, disease in our physical health, or any trauma or sadness imaginable, no matter what it is – God is forever with us. His word is true and unchanging, and where there are difficulties or misfortune, He ALWAYS offers a way of escape so that the trouble is bearable (1 Cor 10:13) – hope above and beyond the trial.
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Phil 4:13) The bearable means of enduring and facing hardship is turning to God. In this way, we get out of the stumbling block of our own selves; instead allowing Him to be a lamp to our feet (Psalm 118:105).
“Rejoice in the Lord always”…. this is not to be confused with cheerful jubilation or emotion. It is the prayer of the heart – “Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me.”
In the Orthodox Church we are taught that the word mercy in Hebrew means “steadfast love” and that the Greek root for mercy has the same root as the old Greek word for olive oil, which biblically was used for healing wounds, bruises and ailments. To say, Lord have mercy is to ask the Lord to shroud our fallen selves in His steadfast healing love.
This is the way of thanksgiving; abiding and resting in His peace. Where there is suffering, there consolation also abounds.
May we all rejoice in the Lord, always.