No matter what is happening, being happy is a choice!
Did you know that when you are not joyful, it is actually against the will of God? God expects you to be joyful no matter what!
Take Habakkuk, for example. He knew that God was going to send the Babylonian empire to execute judgment on Judah for their sins, a very frightening prospect. Listen to how Habakkuk writes while he waits for Babylon to attack:
“I heard and my heart pounded, my lips quivered at the sound; decay crept into my bones, and my legs trembled. Yet I will wait patiently for the day of calamity to come on the nation invading us. Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Saviour” (Hab. 3:16-18 NIV).
Habakkuk was extremely fearful and he writes that even if there is no food he was going to rejoice in God his Saviour! Nothing could take away the joy and faith he had in God.
Right before His crucifixion where He knew He’d be brutalised and treated unjustly, Jesus told His disciples this same thing:
“Do not let your heart be troubled (afraid, cowardly). Believe [confidently] in God and trust in Him, [have faith, hold on to it, rely on it, keep going and] believe also in Me” (John 14:1 AMP).
What do we take home from these 2 accounts?
We learn that anyone can rejoice and praise God on the other side of the Red Sea but it takes real faith to rejoice when the unpassable Red Sea is in front of you.
It takes faith to rejoice in an answer to prayer before the answer has been given. It takes faith to petition God and to so believe that God will answer that petition that you are actually joyfully expectant.
Rejoicing is a choice – not a knee-jerk reaction to something good happening. Rejoicing in the midst of trial is what God wants us to do. Rejoicing comes from a heart that genuinely expresses love and it is in that attitude of faith that God answers your requests.
“Rejoice in the Lord always [delight, gladden yourselves in Him]; again I say, Rejoice!
Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God” (Phil. 4:4, 6 AMP).