by Jessica VonRoekel
“The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders; where morning dawns, where evening fades, you call forth songs of joy” (Psalm 65:8 NIV).
Spring rolls in slowly in the Midwest. The sun shines warmly, but the wind blows cold. Frost coats baby blades of green grass. It can rain and snow in the same fifteen-minute window. But one thing is constant. . . the persistent lengthening of days and the birds who flock to my yard. The mourning doves return first, then the robins and common grackles, and finally the goldfinches. They all seem to raise their voices as loudly as they can just before sunset and sunrise.
I marvel at the cacophony in the evening and predawn. It pulls me from the distractions of the day and causes me to look up from my problems. Their noisy song wakes me fully from a fitful night’s sleep in the moments before dawn. It makes me wonder whether I praise or cower when dark times overtake my life. Do I forget to praise when the night grows too long, and I question whether morning will ever come?
The Psalms teach us how to rejoice when we’re holding sorrow and pain. They help us see raw emotion through a lens of faith in a faithful God and bring our hearts to praise during unwanted circumstances. When we spend time with the Psalms, we can learn how to express our deepest hurts and rejoice in the God whose consistent presence in our lives is a comfort.
Paul says it best when he writes, “Rejoice in the Lord always, I will say it again: Rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4 NIV). Rejoicing is not dependent on our circumstances but separate from them. We rejoice because it aligns our heart with God’s heart. It pleases him when we rejoice in him despite the darkness looming in our lives.
James 1:2 places an emphasis on rejoicing and to count it all joy when we face trials of many kinds. I don’t know about you, but I seem to grumble and complain before I remember to praise. But grumbling leads to fretting and fretting leads to worry, which leads me away from trusting God. And when I don’t trust God, I can’t seem to find my song. Choosing to rejoice despite how we feel about our circumstances brings our hearts back to trust.
There are times when we see storm clouds brewing above the landscape of lives, like the slow setting of the sun. Let’s sing songs of joy, trusting in God. He goes before us and makes a way when there seems to be no way. He carries us close to his heart as he guides through dark valleys. Because of him we can rejoice, no matter what we face. Will we choose to sing louder right before sunrise like the birds do?
This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).
About the author: Jessica is a worship leader, speaker, and writer who writes at www.welcomegrace.com giving hope-filled inspiration addressing internal hurts in the light of God’s transforming grace. She believes that through Christ our personal histories don’t have to define our present or determine our future. Jessica lives in a rural setting with her husband and family. You can connect with her on Instagram and Facebook.
Join the conversation: What thought about God enables you to rejoice despite hard circumstances?