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How to Rejoice in the Good and Bad - The Crosswalk Devotional - September 10

We don’t rejoice in God because of what he can do for us, we rejoice because of who he is.

Author of Reframing Rejection
Sep 10, 2023

The Crosswalk Devotional

How to Rejoice in the Good and the Bad
By Jessica Van Roekel

“Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places” (Habakkuk 3:17-19, ESV)

Storms on the prairie are breathtaking. The wind roars and swirls the grass. Clouds turn dark gray as they roll in like waves. Lightening sparkles in the sky and strikes the ground. But prior to the storm’s arrival, the weather conditions shift. The temperature drops, the humidity increases, and the sky transitions from brilliant blue to ominous gray. We see the storm coming and prepare for it. We tie down outside furniture and tuck our potted plants in the garage, and then we wait.

Sometimes we see storms on the horizon of our life. It might be a sense of unease about a situation or be fissures in a once close relationship. We tuck our hopes and dreams into a pocket in our hearts and prepare for the worst. Not everything in life will be sunshine and blue skies, but when we rejoice in both the happy and the sad times, we grow in our walk with Christ.

We don’t rejoice in God because of what he can do for us, we rejoice because of who he is. The book of Habakkuk reminds us to rejoice even when we experience desolation. Habakkuk knew God through a personal relationship, and so can we. We can get to know God and believe that he is good and can work out all things for his glory. God doesn’t need to prove himself to us in exchange for our allegiance and faithfulness. He calls us to himself because he is love. His love for us draws us, and as we draw near, we know him. When we know him, we can rejoice in him, even in the storms.

The Israelites needed Habakkuk’s encouragement to choose rejoicing even though they faced invasion by the Chaldeans. God’s people followed an unhealthy cycle of crying out to God, recommitting themselves to him, and then returning to idol worship. Each time they rejected God, another people group took them captive, but God continued to rescue them. During Habakkuk’s time, the people could see the storm on the horizon, and yet, they were called to rejoice through the invasion, destruction, and captivity.

Those who live by faith in God will be victorious. Living a victorious life doesn’t mean a life without suffering and pain. Victory means that God is with us, and rejoicing reminds us of who he is. Rejoicing helps us take God at his word because he is sovereign, good, and kind. It’s remembering that he keeps his promises and that he draws near the brokenhearted. Rather than fretting, we can rejoice.

We find joy because of what Jesus Christ has already accomplished for us and in his unchanging Word. We can know this kind of joy when we remain in a growing, personal relationship with him, obeying him, loving others, and being set apart from the evil in the world. This type of joy makes rejoicing possible when the storms overtake us and bring devastation. Rejoicing happens not because of where we are and what we experience but because of who holds our lives.

Intersecting Faith and Life:
Your life might be filled with unexpected pain, whether it’s emotional or relational. You might have seen it coming like a storm warning and tried your best to prepare for it. Or it may have come up suddenly and taken you by surprise. Either way, rejoicing can feel hard. It can feel like you’re going through the motions because your emotions don’t match your decision to rejoice. Rejoicing decides to celebrate God. He is righteous and true. He doesn’t leave you or forsake you. He cares for you. His hand holds you close, and he knows every hair on your head. Today, remember what you have. You have Jesus. With him, you can look at the storm and rejoice your way through.

Further Reading:
Habakkuk 3:17-19
Philippians 4:4
Learning to Rejoice in Trials

Photo credit: Unsplash/@coopery

Jessica Van Roekel author headshotJessica Van Roekel loves the upside-down life of following Jesus as she journeys to wholeness through brokenness. As an author, speaker, and worship leader, she uses her gifts and experiences to share God’s transformative power to rescue, restore, and renew. She longs for you to know that rejection doesn’t have to define or determine your future when placed in God’s healing hands. Find out more reframingrejectionbook.com You can connect with her on Instagram and Facebook.

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