Know God, know joy
Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. (Philippians 4:4 KJV)
Paul did not make this statement just once but rather he reaffirmed it: “rejoice in the Lord…” The object of rejoicing is clearly directed squarely and exclusively centered upon the Lord. Paul did not say “rejoice if …, or rejoice when …” There are no outer conditions we face in the world which limit real joy of the Lord from persistently burning from deep within our soul.
Rejoicing in the Lord is possible despite adverse circumstances. Happiness depends on upon outward conditions. Happiness often fades away when facing the eye of the storm or flees at the first sign of trouble in congregating storm clouds upon the horizon.
Paul personally understood the difference between rejoicing and happiness. Paul was able to remain joyful, dwelling upon the Lord, despite many adverse conditions certainly not pleasing or enjoyable. He describes in greater detail some of his rough experiences which could not begin to exterminate his deeply felt inner joy:
Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. (2 Corinthians 11:24-27 KJV)
Joseph is another great biblical example of a young man who remained joyful despite serious dark storm clouds lingering on the horizon in his life. Joseph faced cruel treatment even desertion in a cistern by his own brothers but remained joyful and faithful unto God. This incident led him to other circumstances throughout his life that were often undesirable. Many times It would have been easy enough for Joseph to give up and throw in the towel; but he remained joyful in the Lord and available to be used of God greatly in struggles and difficulties of his life bringing about good to others; including his own brothers, as the tables in life were turned by God; leaving the brothers destitute, hungry and in need with Joseph having the sustenance his brothers desired.
The Bible records Joseph to say to his brothers:
But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive. (Genesis 50:20 KJV)
Can you remain joyful, as you are being used of God greatly, despite any storms swirling about you? Your joy depends upon the existence of a healthy spiritual relationship with God not circumstances which surround you.
Know God, know everlasting joy.