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(May 7) Learning to Enjoy Life -- a meditation on Psalm 118:24

"This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it"

"This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it"

So often it seems our joy in life is directly tied to things going our way. When circumstances align the way we would want them to, we feel happy. By contrast, when things go differently than we hoped or imagined, we usually feel discouraged.

For the psalmist, gladness and joy were not simply tied to the events of the day. Rather, his feelings of happiness were directly related to the reality that each day was a gift given straight from God. It was because the day was created by the Lord and gifted to him in grace that he found a reason to have joy.

Think about that very thought for a moment. As you read this, maybe your Monday has been...well, a Monday. The kids were harder to get out of bed this morning. You were running late. Homework was discovered to be only partially completed. Traffic was unusually slow. On and on Mondays go sometimes.

Consider the things the psalmist did Not say. He did not say:

- Today has gone precisely how I planned it; I will rejoice and be glad in it.

He did not say:

- Everyone in my life has put my preferences first today; I will rejoice and be glad in it.

And he did not say:

- Today has been absent of stress, trials, and frustrations; I will rejoice and be glad in it.

What he DID say was:

- The Lord created this day and because He has, I will rejoice and be glad in it.

In fact, if you have a few minutes, I encourage you to read all of Psalm 118. You may be surprised at some of his circumstances:

-"Out of my distress" (verse 5)

-"All the nations surrounded me" (verse 11)

-"They surrounded me like bees" (verse 12)

-"I was pushed hard so that I was falling" (verse 13)

And yet...

-"Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good" (verse 1)

-"The Lord is on my side; I will not fear" (verse 6)

-"The Lord is my strength and my song" (verse 14)

-"This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it" (verse 24)

Two things stand out to me:

1. He chooses joy because He trusts in the Lord

He knows that the present day in which he writes is a day given to him by God. That alone gives him a reason for joy and for worship. What about you? You woke up today as a gift from God. Doesn't that by itself deserve your praise being directed to the Lord? Sure, Mondays can be quite the challenge, But, after all, this day is a gift from God. It may very well be a challenge, but it is a gift nonetheless.

2. The psalmist wants "us" to rejoice and be glad; not just "him"

The psalmist is not content to simply get his own mind right. He goes further. He desires to help other people understand the goodness of God. He wants to use his words to not only reassure his heart but also to redirect the hearts of others. This really gripped me when I thought about this fact. In spite of the challenges listed in this chapter, He chooses joy and he wants others to do the same. I think it is precisely BECAUSE he is striving to help other people that he is able to find joy and gladness regardless of the circumstances of his day.

Will you choose to live the same way today? Will you choose to serve others, encourage your co-workers, and bless your family, regardless of the events of the day? If you will, I believe you will find a much greater joy as you go through the day. This much we know: God created this day and He has blessed you by allowing you to live it and experience it. As you glorify Him by helping other people to see His goodness, you too will find that you can rejoice and be glad in it.

It is by applying the lesson of Psalm 118:24 that we find meaning, purpose, service, and So, go live today with a heart of praise and gladness. Not because you hit all green lights nor because everything has gone well. But, because you are currently taking breaths on a day the Lord has given to you. In that truth alone, your next breath should offer praise to the Lord.

What is your choice? How will you live the rest of today? May today be a day in which we rejoice and live in gladness! God created this day...we have all we need to be thankful.


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