"Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice." -Philippians 4:4
Have you ever been in such pain that you thought you my be physically ill? This morning that's what happened to me (I will spare you the details, but it was not fun!). As I was doubled over in pain and looking for a container to get sick in, I heard the word "rejoice." And so I did. "Lord, I will praise you even through this." It didn't lessen the pain right away, but I felt less nauseous. Then I praised...and I praised and I praised. Through the pain, I praised. I realized something when it was all over: praising doesn't take my pain away, I still have to deal with it; no, praising takes the attention off of myself, and draws it to God, who can handle what I am going through, even when I'm not.
This morning, as I entered the kitchen, my wife, who is going through something more emotional than physical, held me a while, and then asked the boys if they heard the "Good News" this morning. She has every right to be upset, and to want attention, but she used her pain as an opportunity to talk to our boys about the Gospel. In her emotional pain, she praised God. I say this, not because we're perfect at it, we're not. However, the evidence of pointing to, seeking, running after God in praise during our pain is undeniable. HE handled it. HE got glory. HE is still on the throne, no matter what we are going through.
In a day and age when we're told "just do you, focus on you, do what makes you feel good," my family and I are going to rejoice in the Lord. We're going to remove the focus from ourselves, and seek the Lord in praise, yes, even through pain! It may not remove us from the situation, take our pain away, or even bring us the healing we desire, but we WILL praise the Lord, always. We will rejoice, even through trials. We will focus, not on ourselves, but on the One who saves. We will be praising through our pain, and the Author of Life will draw us closer to Himself. He makes all things bearable because His power is immeasurable. He is worthy to be praised.
Philippians 4:4-13 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.