REJOICE! (are you serious?!)

bee and thistle - rejoice in life
This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Psalm 118:24

March 10, 2020, was the last time I attended an activity in a group of over 15 people. That’s over four months ago, but some days it feels like it’s been years. My life has rearranged itself into cooking, yard work, reading, sewing face masks, and Zoom meetings. Each day seems much like the last. And, as a person in an “at risk” category, I know that this is not going to change for me anytime soon. I can relate to the cabin-fever experienced by my ancestors in the north of Sweden in the depth of winter.

I know that the Lord has made today. But sometimes it takes a lot of effort to “rejoice” and “be glad”. To be grateful, yes. To be content, also yes. Dancing and singing “hallelujah”, not so much. There is the exponential (and often totally avoidable) growth of CoVid-19 in Canyon and Ada Counties. The struggle for racial justice does not seem to have advanced very much from what I saw on the CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite each night in the 1960s. My search for reasons to rejoice and be glad often leaves me feeling sad and frustrated.

I am bombarded by messages telling me to choose a side. To choose “justice” OR “mercy.” To choose “freedom” OR “responsibility.” To support “law enforcement” OR “people of color”. The world tells me that life can be neatly sorted into “right” and “wrong”, and it encourages me pick a side! But it’s been years since I believed in the simple “either/or”. 70+ years have taught me that reality is incredibly complex and that most “truths” have multiple valid aspects. Holding two opposing truths at the same time involves a tension that is exhausting, making it hard to function.

Here I sit: homebound, sad, frustrated, mentally exhausted – not the best framework for finding reasons to rejoice and be glad! So, back to Psalm 118:24 again – what does it say? Does it say that I must FIRST identify a handful of specific good things, and THEN I can rejoice about them? Not exactly. It says that the Lord made today, so rejoice and be glad. Perhaps God is challenging me to accept the gift of one more day with gladness and rejoicing, regardless of what’s going on around me. And, through that lens, I might more readily notice as God points out the many little things that bring joy.

Prayer...

Gracious Lord, I need Your help! Help me to grieve the tragedies in this world. Help me to find concrete actions that I can do, today, to address those tragedies. Help me to love those whom You love, even when it’s hard to like them. Help all my words and actions today bring honor to Your Holy Name. But first, help me to embrace today as a gift to me, out of Your loving bounty, and to rejoice and be glad in it. Amen

Penelope Smith

Penelope Smith

Member of Trinity Lutheran, Nampa ID

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This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. John Hergert

    This was the first thing I read today before my walk. It was a great reflection to ponder. Thanks for powerful words!

  2. Mary Braudrick

    I remember a book having to do with “the sacrifice of praise.” Praising (like rejoicing) God — when it made no sense (life sucked!) to do so —was, in essence, a sacrifice. Such is your story here. Your words speak to everyone’s reality now. Thank you for the reminder to embrace this day as God’s gift.

  3. Brenda Knudson

    Thank you for the reminder that we are all struggling with this new norm, altho I am still working and around people daily, I struggle with loss of gatherings with people. God is good and I try (must) need to remind myself daily. God Bless you.

  4. Sheryl

    Thank you Penny…very insightful. This time in our lives, it is hard to continually rejoice with all the chaos around us. So, take heart in God’s promises, “be still and know that He is God” and we will weather this together in Him.
    Sure enjoy your sisters and our zoom meetings.
    Blessings

  5. Kathleen McIver

    Thank you Penny for the reminders and especially for the prayer that you shared. It surely is inspired from the heart of our Father. It is a reminder of why we are still here and not there! As long as we are on earth we should be rightly re-presenting Him and your thoughts within this prayer express what that should look like indeed…Kathleen McIver

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