Rejoicing when life sucks

No matter what our situation, the Bible tells us we need to rejoice. Because no matter how bad our situation may seem to us, God still has His hand in it, and He still knows what He’s doing.

It’s easy to say that out loud. It’s very easy to remind someone else of the truth of this. But it’s next to impossible to do yourself, especially when you’re having a bad day . . . or a bad stretch of days . . . or (strangely enough) immediately after you’ve had a really awesome experience.

I think we’re all like Elijah in the cave sometimes. We come down from a mountaintop experience with God, where we saw Him move and saw His hand in so many different ways, and then we get back to life and it sucks and everything goes wrong and you make mistakes and people yell at you and then crazy lightning and thunder and hail keep you up all night long so that you get less sleep than you did the night before when you got home at 1:00 in the morning and by the time you’re back on your feet all you want to do is huddle in a corner and cry your eyes out for no real reason. . . . Has anyone else ever experienced that?

I know I go through it every November. Right after Judgement House, when life goes back to “normal,” I always feel my life implode. So you’d think I’d learn to deal with it by now? It’s funny. I’ve learned to expect it, but dealing with it is a whole different matter.

But I think that’s why God gently reminds us to rejoice in Scripture. Because when our lives get like this (just like Elijah) we need to refocus on what’s important, on what matters.

Today’s verse is Psalm 68:4-5.

4 Sing praises to God and to his name!
      Sing loud praises to him who rides the clouds.
   His name is the Lord—
      rejoice in his presence!

 5 Father to the fatherless, defender of widows—
      this is God, whose dwelling is holy.

This was not what I wanted to read this morning.

This morning I woke up in a foul mood, and rejoicing was the furthest thing from my mind. I’m so tired I can hardly concentrate on anything, and I’ve got a full day at work where I’m still picking up pieces of everything that went wrong while I was at the workshop in Colorado. And I’d hoped to have an early night last night and I’d planned to get a decent night’s sleep last night, but that storm blew through here . . . and while I probably just should have gone to sleep, I wanted to make sure nothing was going to happen . . . and then when I was finally able to get into bed, I couldn’t sleep. Oh, and I couldn’t get a shower last night either because the lightning was so bad . . . so I’m greasy . . . . and all my clothes smell like suitcase because I haven’t had time to wash them.

What I really want to do is sit and whine and complain. That’s what my heart tells me to do. To moan and groan about how unfair my life is and just sit in place because I’m so tired that walking is probably a very bad idea.

But you know, what good does that do me? We puny humans get the concept from somewhere that whining and complaining about our circumstances actually helps us feel better. Does it really? I mean, there is sometimes a need to vent to people. But there’s a vast difference between venting and whining.

What I need to do is rejoice.

I need to praise God for everything that’s going right in my life. And I need to praise Him for everything that’s going wrong too. Because He is responsible for all of it, and even if it seems like what He’s sending my way is bad, God is always good. So when my life seems to be falling apart, I need to remember that He’s the one holding it together and it’s just my perspective that needs to change.

God is always good. He knows what He’s doing. He never makes mistakes. He always keeps His promises. And the best way for me to get through days like this is to praise Him for the good and for the bad, because no matter how awful it may seem, He’s going to use it to make something beautiful, something wonderful, something that will be more than worth all the pain and annoyance.

So praise God today wherever you are. If you’re having a good day, praise Him. If you’re having a bad day, praise Him harder. Because once you get your focus off your circumstances, you can see who God is. And once you can see who God is, the little problems in life (like no sleep and greasy hair) aren’t important anymore.