Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 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. (Philippians 4:4–7)
Rejoicing may be the last thing on our minds in these days of Covid-19. Like you, I’m concerned, frustrated, and grieving the accumulating losses. Yet it helps me to remember that the Apostle Paul wrote these words not from a place of freedom, hope, and prosperity, but from confinement and devastation. He wrote these words from prison, and his call was to rejoice—not in our circumstances, but in the Lord.
We may be in chains, but in the Lord we are free. We may be isolated, but in Him we have fellowship. We may be devastated, but in Him we are consoled. We may be grieving, but in Him we have hope. When we remember Whose we are, we are reminded who we are and remember to act accordingly: to be reasonable, non-anxious, thankful, and peaceful.
Neurobiologists tell us that in crisis, the brain shuts down its executive functions and slips into survival mode. In other words, we stop reasoning proactively and begin reacting for survival. What’s fascinating is that counselors have found that the fastest way to “reboot” is actually gratitude. Taking just a few minutes to focus on appreciation, thankfulness, and rejoicing actually restarts our brain’s executive functions and reignites our ability to navigate stressful situations.
Even though Paul didn’t know the science, he knew the reality: under stress we forget to be grateful, anxiety steals our joy, and we take our eyes off the Lord. He also knew that thanksgiving increases our resilience, and that the fastest way back to health is through rejoicing in the Lord always.
So let me encourage you this week to rejoice in the Lord. Maybe sit down with your family for 10 minutes and simply write out a list of gratefulness, appreciating all that is ours in the Lord and rejoicing together in His blessings. Let’s remember Whose we are, so we can remember—and act like—who we are.
You are loved, more than you know!