It all started when I stepped onto the pier after enjoying a blissful sailboat cruise with our daughter, Joy. The edge of the night sky was still pink from an enduring sunset. The air was cool, but not chilly, at some unknown, yet perfect temperature. My husband was in his glory, snapping photos of the all that is life around us. And Joy looked more beautiful and content than ever, hand in hand with her adoring husband, and wonderfully pregnant.
I breathed a near-audible prayer of deep thankfulness to the Lord. “Lord, thank you for this wonderful time with my family. Thank you for Joy’s happiness. Thank you for this glorious evening!”
And nearly as audible, the Lord spoke quickly to my heart, “Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this…but rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven.” (Luke 10:20)
Much of my thankfulness and rejoicing has been for God’s provision in this life. That’s okay. It’s His will to be thankful for these things. But His word pierced my heart as I realized that my gratefulness should go well beyond the here and now, to His love and all He has accomplished to secure eternity for me and countless others!
I came upon this little-known hymn in Spurgeon’s hymnbook , and attempted to update the language a bit, so it could speak to you as it did to me, of the “IN WHAT” we should rejoice:
Grace in Love
We love You, Lord, because when we had err’d and gone astray,
You recalled our wandering souls into the heavenward way.
When helpless, hopeless, we were lost in sin and sorrow’s night,
You sent forth a guiding ray of Your kind and tender light.
Because when we forsook Your ways nor kept Your holy will,
You were not the avenging Judge, but gracious Father still!
Because we have forgotten You, Lord, but You have not forgot,
Because we have forsaken You, but You forsake not;
Because, O Lord, You love us with an everlasting love,
Because You sent Your Son to die that we might live above;
Because when we were heirs of wrath, You gave us hope of heaven;
We love because we much have sinned, and much have been forgiven!
Julia Anne Elliott, 1835
God’s word is replete with reasons to give thanks and/or rejoice, and oddly enough, most have nothing to do with our personal provisions. The next few posts will delve into these further: Rejoicing in Him, Rejoicing in suffering, and Rejoicing in His appearing!
“Rejoice in the Lord, always, and again I say, Rejoice!!”
 C.H. Spurgeon (compilation, 1866), Our Own Hymn-Book, Pilgrim Publications. Pasadena (2002). 2nd Ed. Hymn 248.