Monday, July 28, 2014

Rejoice in the Lord Always

(In Memoriam)

“Rejoice in the Lord always.  I will say it again:  Rejoice!”  (Phil. 4:4)

I’ve thought a lot about this verse lately.  What does “rejoice” truly mean?  Miriam-Webster says that it means to show that you are very happy about something.  The Greek translation means “to be cheerful or calmly happy.”   It makes me wonder how often I rejoice and when I do, how do I chose to rejoice? 

My heart is broken these days.  I have an uncle that will soon be leaving this earth and will be in the presence of his Savior.  My heart aches for the loss, but celebrates for what lies in my uncle’s future.  I have to tell a little about my Uncle Gwyn.  Forty-eight years ago, he was severely burned over 80% of his body in a plant accident.  I have never known him without his scars.  I have never known him without struggling to walk.  But I have also never known a time he wasn’t rejoicing, and his way of rejoicing is to sing.  When my sister and I were little, my family would make trips from Columbia to Ashe County to visit family.  My uncle would sit us on his knee and sing a song about “uh-oh, I’m falling in love with you”.  As time passed, when we would make these trips, the minute we would see his car in the driveway, we started cheering “Hut-oh!  Hut-oh!” excited to hear our song.  And so, he became Uncle Hut-oh.  Through the years, Uncle Hut-oh has gone from walking with a limp, to being unable to walk without the use of crutches, to a motorized scooter, and now to a wheelchair.  And even though his life changed in the blink of an eye, I have never heard him complain.  I have never heard him ask why; and although his pain has often been unbearable, he is always rejoicing.  He is always singing.

Looking at his life and his love for Jesus makes me think about how I rejoice.  Psalm 9:2 says, “I will be glad and rejoice in You; I will SING the praises of Your name, O Most High.”  Rejoicing and singing seem to go together.  And when we sing praises, we worship!  And no matter what we are going through in our own lives, we should rejoice, sing and worship!  I often look out on Sunday morning and I see very little singing and even less rejoicing.  Some people sit, some drink coffee, some cross their arms and stare into space.  Is God not worthy of more than that?  When I close my eyes, I can see the smile on Uncle Hut-oh’s face as he is rejoicing and singing in his majestic baritone voice.  Oh what he would give to stand and raise his hands to the heavens and worship Him!  But time has confined him to a wheelchair.  He no longer has use of his limbs, but he still has a voice.  And he still rejoices!  He still sings!  He still worships!

I know his time on earth is coming to an end.  But my heart is already rejoicing because when that day comes, there will be no more scars, no more pain, no more wheelchairs.  And the voice that has been rejoicing and singing to the Most High will stand before Him with his hands raised in praise.

So what is my excuse for not singing praise to the Most High?  What is holding me back from truly rejoicing?  Jesus has saved me from my sin and I will live with Him forever!  Now that is something to be very happy about.  So rejoice!  Sing!  Worship! 


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