Rejoicing in God's Plan

9:44 PM

One of my favorite verses that I memorized last fall is Psalm 33:21, “For our heart is glad in Him, because we trust in His holy name.” I didn’t think about that verse much when I first memorized it, but then a couple months later, when I was reviewing it, I was struck by how important it is for us to remember this and believe it with all our heart.

Oftentimes, it’s easy to become anxious because of what is going on in the world around us.  Especially this time of year, I find it easy to become discouraged because of extra schoolwork, not being able to meet goals that I made at the end of the previous year, and other reasons.  But Philippians 4:6-7 says: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  I’ve been reminded that when trials come, I just need to pray about it and trust the Lord to work everything out for me.  And when I trust in the Lord, I’m able to rejoice.  Joy comes through trust.  When we’re anxious and worried about our circumstances, we can’t fully rejoice in the Lord.  But when we pray about it, and then leave it up to God, we can be glad in Him, because we know that He is in control of it and will work it out for our good and His glory. 

God sends trials to help us grow.  People often ask, “If there is a God, why do bad things happen to Christians?”  The truth is, these things appear to be bad, but they are really for our good.  Like Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”  Nothing that happens, even the little things, is without a purpose.  God has planned those things to draw us closer to Himself, and to make us rely more fully on Himself.  In Jesus' High Priestly Prayer (John 17), He said that He was consecrating Himself so that we would be sanctified in the truth (interestingly, both the word "consecrate" and "sanctify" are related to being holy or set apart for God).  His will for our lives is for us to become more and more like Him (1 Thessalonians 4:3).

In Romans 5, Paul says that we rejoice because of our hope in God’s glory.  Then he says something that might come as a bit of a surprise if you haven’t read the Bible before: “We rejoice in our sufferings.”  He goes on to explain that the reason that he rejoices in his sufferings is because he knows that suffering produces endurance, endurance produces character, and character produces hope.  Our sufferings will ultimately make us more like Christ.  We will be filled with hope, because we know that He is sovereign.  And because of that, we will be able to rejoice!  The joy of the Lord will be overflowing in our hearts.  We can’t help but be glad in Him, because we trust in His control of each and every situation.  May the God of hope fill us with complete joy and peace because we believe in Him, so that by the Holy Spirit's power, we will abound in hope (Romans 15:13)!

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