If only Jason hadn't been laid off. . .
If only there was enough money to pay the bills. . .
If only my writing were more profitable. . .
If only the car hadn't been damaged. . .
If only things around the house worked like they are supposed to. . .
If only the pain in my shoulders would go away. . .
If only, if only, if only. If only all these things were so, it would be easy to rejoice in the Lord. Don't you think? If life were smooth and simple, wouldn't it be easy to sing praises?
According to Philippians 4:4, we're supposed to rejoice in the Lord, no matter the circumstances. Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.
What? How? How can I rejoice in the midst of so many heartaches? How can I praise the Lord when so many things are going wrong? How can I stay in a constant state of rejoicing? I think the answer can be found in the next few verses.
Let you moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you. - Philippians 4:5-9
Scofield calls this "the secret of the peace of God." Do you want to be able to rejoice at all times and in all circumstances? According to the above passage, here's what you need to do:
1. Don't worry
2. Take it to God in prayer
3. Be thankful
4. Think positive
5. Consistently do what you've learned
Another thing that will help us is to focus on Christ, not the crisis. (That goes along with "think positive," but I wanted to mention it anyway.) Sure, life looks rough if I'm only looking at all the things that are going wrong. But, if I will focus on the many blessings around me, I will be more likely to rejoice. Let's get rid of the "if only's." They are time-wasters and energy-drainers. Instead, let's put our time and energy to a good use--praising the Lord who is worthy of our praise!