Friday, 23 December 2011


Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice,
All ye that are upright in heart;
And ye that have made Him your choice,
Bid sadness and sorrow depart.

Rejoice, rejoice,
Be glad in the Lord and rejoice;
Rejoice, rejoice,
Be glad in the Lord and rejoice

The song above was written by Ma¬ry E. Ser¬voss (1849-1906) and was based on Psalm 32:11 “Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, ye righteous: and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart.”

What an admonition in a world where competition and rivalry are the order of the day! This competition keeps us under the pressure to perform and the meter for measuring this performance is always set by the world. In the course of all these, we often sacrifice our inner need for contentment and fulfillment. It is possible to achieve success, according to the worldly view of success, and yet not be fulfilled.

Now, how can one be glad and rejoice when circumstances are not favourable to him? How can one be glad and joyful in the midst of disappointment and pain? Is it possible to be glad and rejoice in the middle of a prolonged challenge like unemployment, delayed marriage, childlessness, troubles, persecution and imprisonment?

As Matthew Henry puts it, “All our joy must terminate in God; and our thoughts of God must be delightful thoughts…Observe, It is our duty and privilege to rejoice in God, and to rejoice in him always; at all times, in all conditions; even when we suffer for him, or are afflicted by him. We must not think the worse of him or of his ways for the hardships we meet with in his service. There is enough in God to furnish us with matter of joy in the worst circumstance on earth... Joy in God is a duty of great consequence in the Christian life; and Christians need to be again and again called to it. If good men have not a continual feast, it is their own fault.”

The aim of this write up is to call on us again to rejoice no matter what. As the year runs out, many take stock and make certain conclusions about their walk with God. For some, they say that God has been faithful but that as a religious clich├ę. Right in their heart of hearts, they question what God is doing in their lives. We visited a Christian couple recently who God showed mercy and caused the wife to give birth after fifteen years of a childless marriage. This would have made the people around to celebrate with them, but a scandal was broken on them based on unconfirmed allegations which made friends and well-wishers to abandon them. What would have brought happiness turned around to bring pain and they are very hurt. The man lost his father and two younger brothers in a succession within four years. In the middle of our discussion, he said, “It’s as if life has no meaning anymore especially after the death of my last younger brother”. Is it possible for this brother to be glad and rejoice?

The psalm where Ma¬ry E. Ser¬voss based her hymn above actually commands the righteous and upright in heart to be “glad in the Lord, and rejoice, … and shout for joy”. Let me make it clear here that what we are saying is not that someone in pain goes about smiling at everybody as if nothing happened, living in pretense and denial. NO! We are saying that there is joy in God which the righteous is supposed to have in spite of his circumstances. You must constantly tell your soul, “God is enough for me”.

As we celebrate Christmas, “Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, All ye that are upright in heart; And ye that have made Him your choice, Bid sadness and sorrow depart. Rejoice, rejoice,
Be glad in the Lord and rejoice.”


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