Rejoice always. 1 Thessalonians 5:16
Mallory Hytes Hagan is Miss America for 2013.
Reports say she "wowed" the judges in the talent competition with her tap dance. The last part of the competition had her answer the question, "Should we have armed guards in our school?" Miss Hagan gave the very sensible reply that we shouldn't fight violence with violence.
Now I have to be honest. I didn't watch the show.
Still, I must confess I have always admired every young lady whom I have seen in a contest like Miss America or Miss Universe or Miss Anything. The quality I admire is that they smile. They smile at the beginning of the evening. They smile when they wear their swimsuits in front of millions of people. They smile when they're asked a serious question, and they smile when they find out they haven't won.
That's impressive! Me, I'd probably throw a water balloon at the winner, but these girls, in spite of their disappointment, keep smiling. If you think it's easy, try it for ten minutes or so. Your jaw will positively ache at the strain. Maybe we have a tough time smiling for any length of time because pains and problems, dilemmas and difficulties keep inserting themselves into our lives and turning our smiles into frowns.
This probably explains why there is no commandment in the Bible telling God's people to "smile evermore."
We simply couldn't do it.
On the other hand, Paul says that we should "rejoice always." Rejoicing always is different than smiling always or being happy always.
Even in the midst of our troubles and under the weight of carried crosses, Christians can still rejoice. They know the crucified and risen Savior is with them. He will help them get through those problems.
He who has already defeated sin, the devil and death has given His word. He will help us through our problems or give us strength to endure those problems or He will dispel those problems.
Any of those options enable me to rejoice evermore.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, because of sin this world is not always the happiest of places. Still I give thanks that because of the ongoing presence and guidance of my Savior, I can rejoice evermore. In my Redeemer's Name I give thanks. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries