In the words of the song “Three little birds” by Bob Marley, "don't worry about a thing, 'Cause every little thing gonna be all right.”
Or, in the words of the apostle Paul in Philippians 4:4 “rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!”
It’s that word ‘always’ that can sometimes be a little annoying if we are honest. Have you ever been quoted that verse when it’s the last thing you want to hear? I have on a number of occasions and the gift of grace seems far away at that time! Then you are reminded that the word always speaks of ‘under any and every circumstance’.
If I was writing this to you as a spiritually strong and extra holy person I would tell you that it is never a problem for me to always rejoice. If, however I write this to you as someone whose wife will read their article, I have to be honest and say that there are times when the last passage in the Bible that I want to be reminded of is Philippians 4:4!
Of course, everyone expects their church leader to be full of the joy of the Lord, rejoicing in the Lord always and never have a care in the world, unless it is for them, personally. But Paul has already brought up the idea of rejoicing in chapter 3:1 ‘finally my brothers, rejoice in the Lord”!
There are times when we may want to reply to Paul ‘well it’s alright for you…’ but of course it was not always alright for Paul. He reminds those to whom he writes this exhortation ‘since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had and now hear that I still have’ (chapter 1:30)
Just 2 verses earlier (1:28), Paul acknowledges that they were under opposition and that they were living in a hostile world (2:15). Indeed the recognition of their situation in 2:15 was not that they should attend the nearest pity party and join in, but that they should ‘shine like stars in the universe’.
It is the idea that we should rejoice ‘always’ – in every situation, at all times, that causes most of us to wince but that is what Paul is saying and as it is in the canon of scripture then it must be possible.
The answer to all this is of course that we rejoice in the Lord, not in our circumstances which means that we take our eyes off the situation around us and trust in the Lord within us and that should make the difference.
"Don't worry about a thing, 'Cause every little thing gonna be all right.”