Under the Circumstances

We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair …

— 2 Corinthians 4:8

I am sure you have heard the story about the minister who visited a parishioner who wasn’t doing well. The minister asked the man how he was doing, and the man replied, “Pretty well—under the circumstances.” And the pastor replied, “What are you doing under the circumstances?”

The Apostle Paul was an excellent example of a man who never seemed to be under the circumstances. Paul would have us to clearly under­stand that our rejoicing is not in our circumstances. Paul wrote his admonition to rejoice always from the depths of a Roman prison where he was a prisoner in chains. (We know that when the Roman eagle fixes its claws, it seldom lets go without drawing blood.) Paul had to say that it was quite uncertain as to “how it shall be with me.” He was facing a capital trial that could cost him his life. He was obliged to contemplate the fact that he might be offered up—that he might be poured out as a libation. Yet, in spite of the fact that all was uncertain, all was dark, and all was drear, out of the midst of this darkness there chimed the clear notes of his jubilation: “Rejoice in the Lord—always.”

Question to ponder:
How can we rise above the circumstances of our lives and learn to rejoice?