A little over a week ago, I had the chance to go to a wedding for two of my friends, Jonathan and Abbigayle. The wedding was in Ashville, North Carolina, which is about three-ish hours away from where I live in Greensboro. So, on a brisk Saturday afternoon, my girlfriend Danielle and I began the long drive. As we are on the cusp of autumn, the weather was beautiful (I always prefer cold grey days). We goofed around on the drive and shared lots of laughter, weddings are always days filled with lots of smiles and I think God intends for that to happen. When we arrived at the venue, we realized that it was the foundation for a new church building (How fitting is that!), and we then saw a few of our friends there. We got there early (As you should at a wedding), and as we were sitting outside, it began to rain. Not a downpour, but still rain. Smarter people than us had their umbrellas ready, all we could do was laugh. Then in a moment, the rain stopped, just as the ceremony began. As the two stood at the altar, the clouds separated just a small bit and allowed for the sun to paint a beautiful picture in the grey sky.
I explain this scene in detail because it reminds me of something so powerful. God blesses us, we just have to look around. In that moment where the rain stopped, Danielle made the comment, “look at God!” What a true statement in all of our lives. Let’s face it, life can be really hard. There are days where we don’t want to get out of bed and we fight to get out of the house into the real world. We face sadness, hardship, and pain on many different fronts. Yet there is God, in the moments of struggle, giving us moments to take hold of. It’s so easy for us to get into this depressed state of seeing everything around us as a curse instead of an opportunity. In that rain people could have easily gotten up and had a sour attitude, but people huddled around umbrellas, used programs as a shield, or one guy who had a towel to cover his head (my hero). What happened is that a memory was created, a memory that was joyful because of a special moment. God gives us moments so that we can rejoice in all things. These moments remind me of the verse that lets me live like this. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 says, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
You are called to rejoice.
Seems kinda weird, right? God tells us to remember to rejoice. Remember, this is the same God who died on the cross for our sins. That’s probably the least joyful moment a person could experience (Just taking a shot in the dark there, but I that’s one of the truest statements ever). Oh, and not only did he die, he died because of our sins even when he himself was innocent, but he did it because of love. He took on our sin in order for us to know grace and enter back into a relationship with him. Now that’s something to rejoice about! We don’t have to live as slaves to sin anymore, God made a way for us to live in freedom. What a wedding is a picture is, is the love that God has for the church. Two becoming one, in a moment, willing to sacrifice life itself to protect the vow each other gives. Rejoice in that moment.
In all things, rejoice.
I love that this is put at the end of that verse, because when it is easy to rejoice is the moments when you are at a wedding, it’s hard when Monday morning comes and your life smacks you in the face. That’s why the same God that died on the cross calls us to rejoice in all things. Not some things, all things. When your boss is a jerk, rejoice. When you get another flat-tire, rejoice. When you thought the weather was getting colder and it totally didn’t (oh hey me), rejoice. Even in the really big stuff that makes you yell out to God in desperation, rejoice. In the good, bad, and ugly of life, we must rejoice. In our rejoicing, God will give us the moments that speak to us and refuel our souls. God wants to move in the moments, so look around you, and be aware of the moments to rejoice.
I still say, I love weddings. This wedding was a great time of fun with friends while witnessing my other two friends getting married. At the end of the ceremony, we went to a new location for the reception. It was a beautiful place called, Quiver Full Farms, filled with candle light and strung lights over the dancefloor. The sun set and the place was illuminated like an absolute dream. Danielle and I laughed with friends until the newlywed couple entered. They shared their first dance on that illuminated dancefloor, and it was wonderful. Our wonderful hipster friends began a new chapter in that one moment. We need to be aware of the moments in our own lives, so we can listen to what God is telling us in the moment.
So, in all things, rejoice in the moment.