Giving Joy Over Dread

Gladness and joy are similar emotions - contentment and delight on the one hand and praise and cheerfulness on the other. We have these sibling emotions in each of us in varying degrees, depending on the effects of outward circumstances that are hard on us and our capacity to achieve a state of genuine well-being despite internal conflict.

I have witnessed conversations where at some point one of those conversing mentioned, "Just be glad you don't have to deal with..." insert platitude here. We know that if we consider all that could have happened to us that didn't, or that could have been worse that did, we would certainly have reason to be filled with gladness and joy. But, most of us can't maintain that state of mind very long. Especially if we have had a set of difficult circumstances that are mounting, and no end is in sight as of yet. Can we decide to be glad or joyous, no matter our present state of mind and spirit?

From the Bible, in his letter to the Philippians 4:4-7, Paul wrote to those people to be glad and rejoice - not to be anxious about anything, but bring their requests to God in prayer and petitions while giving thanks. All those requirements may seem nearly unachievable. But, when we think about our limitations and that God has no limits to what can be done through God's power, we can understand why Paul could write those words.

Please read the entire three verse set. Consider how Paul came to be so bold in writing those words of celebration and care for the Philippians. Calling them to depend not on their will to decide to be glad and joyful, but on the evidence of over 2,000 years of pain, harsh circumstances, full blown depression, and death that was not able to crush the gladness and joy of the ancient Philippian people and the other early church believers.

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