When we read Paul’s words in Philippians, “Rejoice in the Lord always”, let’s be careful not to read it wrong. It’s not saying “Rejoice in all circumstances.”
I listened to a recent message (via these amazing interwebs) by Pastor Ray Bentley at Maranatha Chapel and had to pass along some of these thoughts.
What this verse is saying is that no matter what your circumstances are… you can always rejoice in the Lord. He’s always with you. He will never forsake you.
Choose to rejoice – this is a choice.
It is possible to be hurt by circumstances and not be bitter. it is possible to be so hurt by what comes into life that you know was allowed by God. you are so hurt that you are weeping and you can’t stop weeping. you are sorrowful. you are so hurt that you feel like your world is upside down and inside out. you could be so hurt that you’ve been betrayed… that you are depressed and hurt. that’s not the same thing as bitterness.
It’s possible to be hurt and yet choose to rejoice in the Lord. That’s a choice.
I can rejoice in Jesus and I know He knows what I’m going through because of what He went through on the cross and in the Garden of Gethsemane and sweating rain drops of blood. It’s ok to be hurt.
Bitterness is when you embrace it and love it and you are afraid to let go of the pain. At some point God is going to say it’s ok that you’re hurt. I understand that you’re hurt. I’m not finished. You’re not done. This too shall pass.”
Don’t bow down to bitterness. It will crush you. It will consume you. It will destroy you.
He is still sovereign. He is the divine comforter. You may still be hurt. But don’t be bitter.