When Corrie ten Boom was withering away in a concentration camp, her particular sleeping barracks were overrun with lice and filth. It was abhorrent.
One day, her sister Betsy said to her, “Corrie, we need to give thanks to God for the lice.”
Corrie said, “Betsy, you have gone too far this time. I am not going to thank God for lice.”
Betsy said, “Oh, but Corrie, the Bible tells us, ‘In everything give thanks.’ “
They had the most miserable housing of all. But in obedience, albeit with not much enthusiasm, they thanked the Lord even for the creeping, crawling, itching lice and fleas.
It was only later that the blessing was fully realized. Corrie and Betsy were able to minister freely in their barracks, holding Bible studies and sharing the gift of salvation with those about to be gassed. The reason they were so free to share turned out to be the fleas and lice. None of the guards wanted to go near their barracks.
Always. In everything. Rejoice.
When Paul was writing these words he too was languishing in a cell in chains, unsure of whether he would live or die. He had ever reason to feel scared, sorry for himself, depressed, down and more. And I’m sure he felt all of those at some point. But he had one message–Rejoice in the Lord.
There is never a circumstance so awful that we cannot rejoice. It looks different in different seasons of the soul. Sometimes we rejoice in song, worship and dance, and other times we praise Him and rejoice in Him through tears and anguish. But we rejoice nontheless.
I remembered that last night.
Last night I was in a deep pit. I couldn’t stop the tears and fears and sadness and heaviness. But this Scripture was in my reading. And so I chose to find things to rejoice in that are in Him. And the burden while still there, lifted.
“Your life will go in the direction of your most dominant thoughts,” says one of my former co-workers, Burkett Farrell who is a man who lives in joy.
It’s true. And sometimes my thoughts can go to hard places. But rejoicing in the Lord can bring them back around. But at the end of the day God is always good. No matter how deeply we hurt or how little we understand of why does or does not do something.
There is never a reason we cannot rejoice in the Lord. Always.