My mother has shared a memory with me from when I was in primary school .. maybe around second grade. I don’t remember. But, she has told me that at school one day I went up to my teacher to recite a Bible verse that I had at some point committed to memory. The scripture was Psalm 118:24, “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”
This was a verse that was frequently reinforced by the way my mom and dad lived and modeled life for me. I was encouraged by their example from a very early age to recognize that God was good; and, that He was in the business of blessing my life with good things. This verse speaks specifically of the day at hand .. this day .. today .. right now! The verse further teaches that we should rejoice and be glad in this day. It does not distinguish between a good day or a bad day. It only says, “..rejoice and be glad in it.”
That’s an easy thing to do when all in life is well. Not so easy when a turn of circumstance leaves you feeling as though you’ve had the air knocked out of you! However, either way .. whether you’re all smiles or your world is falling apart .. this scripture teaches we should rejoice and be grateful.
Because of that, this is a “stake in the ground” type of life verse all followers of Christ would do wise to memorize and recite often! Putting down stakes, as it were, committing that every single day has been created and given us by God. Each breath breathed is precious and not to be squandered. Further, it acknowledges that come what may in the day ahead .. nothing will occur that could possibly take God by surprise. If He made the day and gave it for us to live, nothing that happens can be outside His authority. So, come good or bad, sunshine or rain, He has purposed this day for us to live and rejoice and be glad in it!
And, make no bones about it, LIVE we can! Whether the day brings joy or sorrow, He is in control of every detail and we can LIVE it out abundantly. That doesn’t mean every moment will be filled with unicorns dancing on cotton candy rainbows. We live in a fallen world. We will experience loss, heartache, heartbreak, many tears and sorrow. BUT, we can trust that God intends good (Phil. 1:6) toward us. No matter the struggle, we can trust that God is in the business (Gen. 50:20) of turning heartache to joy! Over and over and over He has proven His goodness toward us.
But, no matter the substance of our days .. and, even if they be filled with nothing but sorrow .. this scripture encourages us to rejoice and be glad in it. Friend, something happens to the heart of one in sorrow when they reject hopelessness and embrace a posture of praise and gratitude. When one stops counting the heartache and instead the blessing, they begin to discover a peace that transcends comprehension (Phil. 4:6-8). It's here that a heart of stone can be transformed into a heart of gratitude and one that praise cannot help but flow from. It's a way of living that proclaims, "I will rejoice!"
There are lots of beautiful things in this world. You don’t need money. You don’t need things. Just go outside, sit down under a tree and listen for the sound of the wind blowing through the trees; or, for the sound of a dove calling. Or, even if you only hear the sound of an airplane flying overhead .. keep looking! There’s always something you can find to be thankful for .. it's just waiting for us to take notice and (Psalm 148) join all creation in praising the Creator.