“give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” -1 Thessalonians 5:18
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” -Philippians 4:4
As I sit here on the third floor of my university’s library (where I’ve been camped out for two days and counting), I find myself dwelling on the joy of the Lord. I’m in awe that the joy of the Lord cannot be taken away from God’s children, even during that dreaded week the media over-hypes and college students constantly complain about (aka finals week).
Our constant complaints about final exams are blinding us to one very important truth: we can experience joy in the Lord at any moment of any day during any week.
Our joy in Jesus cannot be touched by the worries of this life.
Yesterday, I sat in the library from 9:30am to 4:50pm working on an extra credit research paper that was due by 5pm. I’ve been super busy during these past couple of weeks and didn’t leave myself enough time to write this paper, but I went for it anyway. I worked all day long, only stopping for lunch. Unfortunately, despite my best efforts, I didn’t finish the paper in time to turn it in. I was left with six pages of research with nothing to gain from them. Needless to say, yesterday was a rough day.
Yet on my walk back to my dorm I was overwhelmed with the goodness of the Lord. His joy filled my heart despite my disappointment. The Lord reminded me of the importance of surrender. Through my failed attempts, God showed me that the power was no longer in my hands to ensure my success. The power was and is now in His hands, where it belongs.
So all I could do last night was praise God for his sovereignty over me.
Y’all, we shouldn’t just praise God when our lives are going smoothly and everything works out according to our plans. We shouldn’t praise Him solely when He blesses us. We praise God for who He is. We praise God because He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. We praise Him because He is the source of true joy and peace that surpasses all understanding. We praise Him because He is sovereign over us and faithful to all of His promises. We praise Him because He is a firm foundation in the midst of a constantly changing world. We praise Him because He is a source of unbreakable joy during what feels like unending challenges.
So today, I want to encourage you to embrace finals week and every challenging week that will come. Embrace your weaknesses so that Christ’s power will be made perfect through you. Acknowledge that you need Jesus. Seek Him and He will come. Draw near to Him and He will draw near to you. In the midst of studying, exams, and sleepless nights, find time to rest in Him. He is the only source of joy that is capable of withstanding every challenge. He is the only one able to carry you through every moment of restlessness. He is the joy that is not dependent upon our circumstances. So praise God for who He is, find joy in Him, and press on. Praise God for challenges that lead you closer to His heart. Praise God during finals week because He is worthy of all praise during every week of the year.
Praise God that our joy in Him is not dependent upon anything but Him.